It’s fair to say that Jake Paul, who made his name on YouTube, has taken the combat sports world by storm. Since the inception of so-called YouTube boxing, the Ohio born superstar has been in and around the action. But, while it’s been strictly boxing so far, Paul has repeatedly collided with the UFC and MMA fighters in some way, shape or form.
Paul, 25, actually began his boxing career by fighting Deji, KSI’s younger brother. Their bout featured on the undercard of KSI vs Logan Paul, the older of the two Paul brothers. After winning the fight by technical knockout in the fifth round, it gave Paul the incentive to carry on in boxing, so he decided to turn professional ahead of his next bout.
Paul, as many expected, breezed past his next couple of opponents. First came UK YouTuber AnEsonGib, who was stopped in the first round. Next up was basketballer Nate Robinson, who Paul knocked out in the second round. Paul’s stock in combat sports was rising, and he was quickly becoming a target for fighters across multiple disciplines because of the big paydays on offer for merely sharing a ring with him.
It's at this point that MMA, the UFC and Jake Paul became a thing. Jake Askren, who is a former Bellator and ONE Welterweight Champion, decided he would be the one to stop Paul in his tracks. But, again, Askren didn’t make it to the second round, with Paul winning by TKO after the ref waved off the fight following Askren being savagely knocked down by a big right hook.
Jake Paul, at this point, was looking unstoppable. And finally, it was the turn of the UFC to chance their arm via former Welterweight Champion Tyron Woodley. The bout proved to be Paul’s biggest test so far, with it ending in a split decision in his favour. It was the closest the Problem Child had come to defeat, but he wasn’t to be deterred and immediately set up a bout against professional boxer Tommy Fury, the brother of Tyson Fury.
However, after Fury pulled out of the fight, Paul was left with no alternative but to give Woodley a rematch, with his former rival claiming that this time, it would be him leaving the ring victorious. But, since their last meeting, Paul had made significant improvements to his game, and managed to secure the KO against the former UFC star, which was also named knockout of the year by DAZN and ESPN.
After a spell out of the ring, there are now calls for Paul to reignite his combat career by facing off against another UFC superstar in Nate Diaz. If reports are to be believed, Paul’s fight against Woodley flopped where PPV numbers are concerned, so there’s now a need to get back to the top. Diaz, alongside Paul, would prove to be a massive draw for audiences from the UFC, combat sports and YouTube universes, and with Paul planning to get back to business in August, it could see him collide with the UFC once again.