Jake Paul believes his transition to MMA is inevitable.
For over a year, Paul has been targeting Dana White, blasting the UFC President on the issue of fighter pay and health care, all while boxing former UFC fighters, and targeting fights with several current UFC fighters. Paul has even released a diss track, and invested in the UFC’s parent company Endeavor, all in an effort to get under White’s skin. Most recently, Paul offered a wager to White: sign him to the UFC for one fight with Conor McGregor, and if he loses, he’ll never speak about the UFC again, but if he wins, White has to agree to his previous terms regarding fighter pay and health care. White never responded to the offer. But though Paul hasn’t gotten too much traction with White, the YouTube sensation believes it’s only a matter of time before he eventually wears him down.
“I think it’s timing, and proving myself more in the boxing side of things,” Paul told The Fight with Teddy Atlas podcast. “Pretty soon the UFC and MMA side will be undeniable to get into the octagon or fight for one of these other organizations against a big name. So I think it’s all a timing thing, and Dana seems to be open to it. He said on my brother’s podcast, he might let Logan fight in the UFC, and I think he’s coming around to me and starting to see what I’m about and what I stand for. Obviously he doesn’t like me harping on the fighter pay side of things, and sort of harming his business, and being a shareholder in Endeavor and pushing on the investment side of things,” Paul said. “There’s definitely a feud there, so we’ll see what happens.”
White did recently say that he wasn’t against the idea of Jake Paul’s older brother Logan competing in the UFC, which is a stark change of pace from his previous assertion that he should “be arrested” if he allowed that to happen. And so even though there is a clearly defined feud between Jake Paul and Dana White, perhaps the younger Paul brother can also get White to change his mind, because while Paul still has his same gripes with the UFC, he does admit to respecting the work White has put into the thing.
“That’s the thing, people think I hate them. No, I love the UFC. I’m a fan of the UFC,” Paul said. “The UFC is like the NFL, and to Dana’s credit, he’s done such a great job of making the sport so much more relevant in such a short amount of time, but the issue for me is now that they are like the NFL, and they’re still only paying the fighters 15% of the total revenue and not giving them long-term health care, that’s where the issue comes in for me, because I care about fighters and I’m trying to change combat sports in general as a part of my legacy and as a part of contributing back to combat sports that saved my life. So this all comes full circle. I see how fighters are mistreated, and how much money they have to spend on their own camps, and how underpaid they are, so that’s really where the battle stems from. So now that the UFC is like the NFL, they have to, soon and slowly, start to pay their fighters more and treat their fighters better.”
Until then though, Paul will continue his boxing career. “The Problem Child” is currently targeting a return to the ring this summer against a yet to be determined opponent.