Jake Paul’s appearance at UFC 261 caused quite a stir, and led to headlines when he was involved in a heated exchange with former two-time UFC champion Daniel Cormier.
Paul had challenged Cormier to a boxing match, and had previously referred to the now-retired former heavyweight and light heavyweight champion as “fat boy” on social media.
It led Cormier to confront Paul at UFC 261, before dismissing Paul’s boxing challenge and instead saying that if he wanted to fight him, it would have to be inside the cage.
But, speaking to ESPN’s Ariel Helwani, Paul explained why he won’t fight Cormier under MMA rules.
“Of course he’s going to challenge me to an MMA fight,” he said.
“I find it funny because he’s challenging me to something I’ve never trained in, and he’s trained boxing and striking and standup and has been in there with Stipe (Miocic), Jon Jones.
“I mean, he lost those fights, but he’s been in there with the best of the best striking, so why not box?
“You want to go against me in something that I’ve never trained in before? Of course.
“That’s like me finding someone off the streets, literally who has never boxed a day in their lives, and being like, ‘OK, come in here, I’m going to challenge him.’
“Of course he’s going to duck the boxing offer. And by the way, there’s way more money in boxing, so we would make more money in a boxing match.
“Again, I’m a boxer. I never said that I will beat Daniel Cormier in an MMA fight.
“If he comes and boxes me, I will beat him. Maybe a part of him knows that, which is why it’s funny. Why would he not accept that offer?
“If we fought, that would be the most amount of money that he will ever make in any of his fights, by far.”
Cormier approached Paul during a break between fights at UFC 261 and the pair exchanged heated words.
But the exchange didn’t escalate into physical violence, and Paul said the reason it didn’t was because Cormier lost his nerve.
“Dana White wouldn’t have done anything if you wanted to lay your hand on me,” he said.
“You had your chance and you b****** out. It’s embarrassing. And you’re an embarrassment, and you’re not a man of your word.
“These guys, man, they have something twisted up in their mind. They don’t see reality how it’s really playing out.
“Actions speak louder than words, and their words are worthless.”
Despite taking aim at Cormier’s actions – or lack of them – at UFC 261, Paul did reveal he has great respect for “DC’s” accomplishments as an athlete.
“I don’t mean (he’s) an embarrassment as a fighter. He’s a Hall of Famer,” he said.
“I respect him for what he’s done as a fighter, what he’s done for the sport is amazing.
“He’s a great wrestler, he’s a great striker, I’ve watched him multiple times.
“I don’t mean an embarrassment that way. I mean an embarrassment like, if you say you’re going to slap another man and you’re going to threaten someone and say you’re going to slap someone when you see them, and when you don’t do that, it’s embarrassing.
“He, as a person, isn’t embarrassing. That’s embarrassing.”
With a bout against Cormier seemingly a non-starter, Paul subsequently moved on to another name, as he took to Twitter to issue a fresh challenge, to undisputed UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman, who knocked out Jorge Masvidal in spectacular fashion at UFC 261.
“Challenge accepted,” Paul tweeted.
“@USMAN84kg if your boss Dana gives you permission to box me and make more money than you ever have, let me know and we can lace them up.
“I promise it will be your biggest payday.”
Paul had previously floated potential matchups with former 170-pound UFC champ Tyron Woodley and Nate Diaz.