With his split-decision victory over former UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley on Sunday night, Jake Paul proved he belongs in the boxing ring.
The YouTube star-turned-fighter faced adversity for the first time in his career, being hit with a swooping right hand from Woodley that had him stumbling against the ropes in the fourth round. Paul recovered and won at least two of the last four rounds on scorecards from two different judges, earning his first victory by decision in his career.
“Got eight rounds under my belt,” Paul said. “All my previous opponents went one minute. So for me to come in here in my first real, eight-round fight, who’s doing that?”
After the fight, Paul told Showtime Sports’ Ariel Helwani that he would “chill out for a second” and momentarily step away from the ring, noting that “my teeth are all crooked (and) my nose is crooked.” But once Paul returns, he will certainly have his share of opponents to choose from.
Here is a look at five potential foes for Paul in his next fight.
Shortly after Sunday’s bout, Woodley approached Paul in the center of the ring and challenged him to a second fight. Paul said he would agree — but only on one condition.
Before their fight, Paul and Woodley agreed that the loser would have to get a tattoo of the other person’s name on their body. Paul brought that up after the bout was over and Woodley concurred on the case that they would have a second fight.
Woodley appeared to hedge on his bet during his post-fight interview, but if he does get the tattoo, there would certainly be a demand to see these two fighters face off again. Woodley had Paul hurt during the fourth round and was as close to beating him as any of his previous opponents.
Plus, both fighters would again have a big payday. There’s a lot to like there.
Fury, the half-brother of WBC and The Ring heavyweight titleist Tyson Fury, defeated Anthony Taylor in the first undercard bout of Sunday’s pay-per-view card, improving his professional record to 7-0.
After his bout, Tommy Fury called out Paul and went on to confront him backstage after the main event.
“You need to stop running, my friend,” Fury said. “Let’s get it on.”
Paul responded: “You could barely beat my sparring partner for four rounds.”
It was perceived that before Sunday’s bout, Fury would be Paul’s next opponent. That could still be the case, though Woodley is very insistent on a rematch and there are other options for Paul to explore.
Given how Paul was challenged by Woodley, he would face another tall task with Fury, who said he also has 12 amateur fights under his belt and great experience within his family.
Paul has called out McGregor for some time, and he seemed to get his attention last night.
After Paul’s victory, McGregor tweeted, “Salivating,” which appeared to be an indication of his desire to fight Paul, though he later posted a picture of a lobster pasta. Paul was asked about McGregor’s comments in his news conference and said, “I’m salivating, too.”
“I’m just getting warmed up,” Paul said. “Conor McGregor has a lot more to focus on besides me right now. I’m five wins in a row, he’s 1-3 in the past four years. So guy needs to get off of his little vodka or whatever the f— his brand is and sober up and start to get back in the f— gym, and then we can f— fight.
“But to be honest, no way he hits harder than Woodley. He doesn’t weigh as much as Woodley, he’s shorter than Woodley.”
McGregor has lost three of his past four UFC fights, including his latest bout against Dustin Poirier in which he injured his ankle. McGregor notably fought pound-for-pound great Floyd Mayweather Jr. in a boxing match in August 2017, which he lost by technical knockout in the 10th round.
It is unclear whether McGregor will return to the UFC or explore boxing next, though this would certainly be another lucrative opportunity for Paul.
Olajide Olayinka Williams Olatunji, better known as his YouTube moniker KSI, notably fought Paul’s older brother, Logan, in an amateur fight in August 2018 and later a professional bout in November 2019. After he and Logan Paul fought to a majority draw in their first bout, KSI won their second clash by split decision.
KSI has not returned to the ring since, though he is reportedly interested in returning to boxing soon against YouTube vlogger Austin McBroom. Jake Paul and KSI have traded blows on social media before and notably met in the middle of the ring after Paul’s victory over AnEsonGib, certainly suggesting that they want to make the fight happen.
According to KSI’s manager, Liam Chivers, KSI “absolutely wants to fight Jake Paul, but not until he is ready.” KSI has fewer fights and has been less active than Paul, so there could be some time before this bout occurs.
Along with McGregor, Diaz commented on Paul’s fight on Sunday night, saying in a tweet, “These guys both suck,” referring to Paul and Woodley.
Paul mocked Diaz’s voice while reading the tweet in his post-fight news conference and spoke about the potential for a bout between them.
“Of course, he wants a payday,” Paul said. “I’m a money fighter, one of the money fighters in boxing. The guy’s got a chin but he doesn’t land punches, right? That fight’s there, no problem.”
Diaz has also lost three of his past four fights, the latest being a unanimous decision to Leon Edwards in June 2021. Diaz has not had any professional boxing bouts but has trained with trainer Richard Perez for some time and has skills that could translate to the ring.