Social media personality and boxer Jake Paul has landed himself a professional MMA contract.
Per ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, Paul has signed a deal with the Professional Fighters League. Though terms of the contract weren’t detailed, PFL co-owner and chairman Donn Davis informed ESPN that the contract it’s a multi-year pact.
Davis also told ESPN that he thinks Paul will make his MMA debut “about one year from now, so early 2024, where you’ll see him take on his first opponent.”
Paul (born in Cleveland) is one of the most well-known athletes and celebrities from the state of Ohio. The Buckeye State launched both in-person and mobile sports on Jan. 1, allowing sports fans in Ohio to place wagers on their favorite sporting events, leagues and teams. Customers who want to start betting in Ohio can enjoy a special Caesars Ohio promo code offer in which you can get up to $1,500 in first bet insurance upon signing up.
Paul rose to fame through the Vine video service. He landed the role of Dirk Mann on the popular Disney television series, Bizaardvark. Paul’s character was on the show for its first two seasons.
The soon-to-be 26-year-old Paul holds a perfect 6-0 career boxing record. His first win came against another well-known YouTube personality AnEsonGib on Jan. 30, 2020. 10 months later, he beat three-time NBA Slam Dunk Contest winner Nate Robinson via knockout.
Paul’s next four wins came against ex-ONE Welterweight Champion Ben Askren (Apr. 17, 2021 via technical knockout), former UFC Welterweight Champion Tyron Woodley (Aug. 29, 2021 via split decision and Dec. 18, 2021 via via knockout) and ex-UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva (Oct. 29, 2022 via unanimous decision).
Paul Already Eyeing Fight With Former UFC Star With Nate Diaz
With a professional MMA contract secured, Paul is already shifting his focus toward a highly-anticipated bout with another UFC icon in Nate Diaz.
Per Kris Rhim of the New York Times, Paul wants “a two-fight deal” with Diaz. The first would be a boxing bout, and the second would be an MMA “Super Fight division” showdown about four to six months later.”
And despite never competing in a professional MMA fight, Paul is rather confident who would win the showdown against the former UFC star.
“I would beat Nate Diaz up in a M.M.A. fight,” Paul said, per Rhim. “There’s nothing he could do. To me, I’ve always felt like I’ve jumped in the deep end, even in boxing, maybe besides, like, Ben Askren.”
The 6-foot-tall Diaz (a 22-13) record, is currently a free agent. His most recent UFC bout took place against Tony Ferguson at UFC 279 on Sept. 10, 2022 (at T-Mobile Arena in Paradise, Nevada), which Diaz won via submission.
We’ll just have to wait and see if Diaz is up for Paul’s two-fight proposal.
Report: WWE Planning John Cena vs. Logan Paul For WrestleMania 39
Jake’s older brother, Logan, turned heads at the WWE Crown Jewel 2022 pay-per-view on Nov. 5 with a strong in-ring performance against Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns.
Unfortunately, Paul suffered a torn ACL, MCL and meniscus during the match, which Reigns won via pinfall. Paul underwent surgery, but it’s widely believed that he’ll be ready for action at WrestleMania 39 weekend, which runs on Apr. 1-2 at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California.
And WWE reportedly has a future Hall of Famer and marquee name in mind to face the 27-year-old Paul at WrestleMania.
According to a recent report from Angel Aramboles of WrestlingNews.co, a match between Paul and John Cena “is scheduled for WrestleMania 39.”
Paul made his in-ring WWE debut at WrestleMania 38, teaming up with The Miz in a winning effort against Rey and Dominik Mysterio. Paul subsequently faced The Miz in a rematch at WrestleMania at SummerSlam 2022, which the former won.
In the Dec. 26 edition of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (subscription required), Dave Meltzer reported, “The belief is that Cena will be working WrestleMania.” The 16-time world champion and wrestler-turn-actor has missed the last two WWE WrestleMania events.
Cena’s last WrestleMania match took place against Bray Wyatt at WrestleMania 35, which was pre-taped with no fans in attendance because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Wyatt defeated Cena in their cinematic “Firefly Funhouse bout.”
Cena returned to WWE programming on the Dec. 30, 2022 episode of WWE SmackDown. He teamed up with another top babyface, Kevin Owens, in a victorious outing against the aforementioned Reigns and Sami Zayn.
Prior to that, Cena’s most recent televised WWE match took place at SummerSlam 2021 against Reigns, which the latter won to retain his Universal title.