For over a year, Nate Diaz and Jake Paul have been trading insults on social media and in the press. During one of Paul’s bouts, their two squads got into a violent battle backstage. In multiple encounters, Paul called Diaz out, notably in his postfight interview after defeating Anderson Silva last year.
Until recently, it didn’t seem like the major fight would take place. Diaz merely became a free agent from the UFC in November of last year. Paul suffered his first professional defeat in February when he was defeated by Tommy Fury. However, everything have come together in the past month. The fight is now official.
In a boxing contest Aug. 5 in Dallas, Paul, a YouTuber-turned-prizefighter, will face Diaz, one of the most popular fighters in UFC history. The fight is scheduled for eight rounds at 185 pounds.
The two guys could hardly be more unlike. After becoming a social media influencer and appearing in a Disney programme, Paul has developed a profitable boxing career. Diaz was raised in hardscrabble Stockton, California, and has faced a who’s who of MMA greats in the UFC over the course of 15 years. This show’s buildup to one of the year’s greatest bouts has several dramatic aspects.
Marc Raimondi, Mike Coppinger, Ben Baby, and Jeff Wagenheim of ESPN take a closer look at the bout below.
How the conflict came about
It was put together in less than a month. After losing to Fury, Paul had three options: a rematch with Fury, a grudge battle with fellow YouTuber KSI, or a bout with former pound-for-pound champion Floyd Mayweather. While Paul’s team preferred KSI as the next opponent because it would be an easier bout with a larger payoff, Paul believed Diaz was a more real competitor who may pose a challenge. There were rumours of a possible pro fight with Logan Paul as late as six weeks ago from Diaz’s side, but it never materialised.
Finally, both parties agreed that this was a chance too good to pass up. There is genuine bad blood with a history and a plot. Nothing else seemed as significant financially as this, and once everyone was on board, it was completed rather quickly. — Raimondi _________________________________
What makes this struggle so essential to Paul? Is this a step back in terms of competition?
It’s certainly the most important battle of Paul’s brief career, and it’s his first after a defeat. As he looks to bounce back from his loss against Tommy Fury, the first actual boxer Paul fought, he faces a familiar foe: an MMA fighter dressed as a boxer.
Paul will face his most recognisable rival yet in Diaz, albeit it will be a huge leap backward in competitiveness from Fury. That’s not to argue Paul-Diaz is a bad matchup. Diaz, on the other hand, seems to be the ideal opponent for a revenue generator wanting to go back into the victory column.
With their love for trash-talking and Diaz’s devoted fans, this might be Paul’s most profitable event ever. And in Diaz, Paul is up against a tough-guy persona who may give the YouTuber-turned-pugilist the respect he seeks.
The former BMF champion has fought with the UFC’s top and is most known for his two spectacular clashes with Conor McGregor, one of which Diaz won. Perhaps most importantly, a win against Diaz might pave the way for the final fight with McGregor.
Paul will be able to brag about defeating the guy who defeated McGregor, putting the promotional machine into overdrive in order to clinch what may be the greatest event in combat sports.
While any MMA fighter will be a step back from Fury, a professional boxer, Diaz seems to stack up well against the opponents Paul defeated along the road, including as Anderson Silva and Tyron Woodley – fighters known for their standup skills in the Octagon. Coppinger
Nate Diaz has never competed in boxing. Nate, what was your finest boxing effort in a UFC fight?
He has no professional boxing contests, but boxing, along with Brazilian jiu-jitsu, has long been one of his MMA strengths. He favours stand-up combat, but can fight on the ground if necessary.
Many of Diaz’s greatest victories follow a similar pattern. Initially, he is generally the slower combatant with less power. He’ll take several shots early on, but he’s got a terrific chin, an unbreakable heart, and excellent cardio. As the struggle progresses, he grows more dangerous. Ask Conor McGregor, who couldn’t beat him in two bouts. Diaz choked McGregor out the first time, but McGregor rebounded in the second for a tight majority decision. Diaz came dangerously near to finishing McGregor late in the bout. Leon Edwards, the current UFC welterweight champion, went through a similar ordeal. He was winning the whole race and causing some havoc. Diaz, on the other hand, was still relatively fresh in the fifth and rocked Edwards with a one-two combination. Diaz was unable to stop Edwards, but he delivered the most powerful blows in the five-round fight.
It’s difficult to determine who had the finest boxing performance since MMA is multi-dimensional. Perhaps his 2015 victory against Michael Johnson. Johnson was winning early and often with his quick hands. Diaz, on the other hand, suddenly turns it on and boxed up Johnson en way to a unanimous decision. – Raimondi
Is Nate Diaz capable of defeating Jake Paul?
Don’t bank on it.
Let us look at the statistics. Paul had four bouts against former UFC fighters, including a rematch with Silva, an MMA legend, and an amazing one-punch KO over Tyron Woodley. Paul has enough experience to know that he performs well against MMA fighters.
In addition, Paul will most certainly have a significant size advantage. Diaz was a UFC lightweight for the most of his career until switching to welterweight at the conclusion of his career, where he went 3-3. He weighed 171 pounds for his fight against Tony Ferguson in September. Paul, on the other hand, has never weighed less than 183.75 pounds.
From a commercial standpoint, would Paul accept this fight if he thought Diaz was a serious risk? Paul has just suffered his first defeat as a boxer. If he continues to lose, his marketability will suffer. When the odds are released, Paul should be the favourite over Diaz.
A few years ago, who would have anticipated such a sentence? — Baby
Forget about the battle and instead watch the pre-fight antics.
The starting bell has yet to sound, but Paul vs. Diaz has already started. Long before the battle was declared on Wednesday, the first bullets were fired. The first few rounds took place on social media a few years ago, with Diaz mocking Paul’s knockouts of Tyron Woodley and Ben Askren, saying, “You’d get smoked in a real fight tho.” Diaz also smacked a member of Paul’s crew backstage before Paul’s bout with Silva last October.
Now that a fight has been scheduled, the rivalry will heat up and provide entertainment. Paul threw the first punch on Wednesday, just after the bout was announced, when he posted a picture of a headstone with Diaz’s name on it. Diaz should have responded by posting a picture of The Undertaker, since this will be a full-on WWE buildup. Paul Heyman should moderate the press briefings.
But here’s the deal with Diaz: He does not participate. His bravado buys seats and pay-per-views, but its goal isn’t always monetary. He is a mental game master, utilising chest-thumping animosity to get under his opponent’s skin and stir himself up. The fact that it’s all part of a battle plan, though, doesn’t make it any less enthralling.
These non-boxing boxing contests are not for everyone. Even if you like to save your pay-per-view money for championship-level bouts, there is enough of enjoyment to be gained here. Between press conferences, weigh-ins, and other encounters between Paul and Diaz, the hype fest is a better chance to produce than the fight itself. Yes, when fight night arrives and these two stars enter the ring, Diaz will undoubtedly provide a meme-worthy moment. But it will not be the first time. Wagenheim, Germany