Gary McCullough/Associated Press
A fight between Jake Paul and UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman may not be a pipe dream after all.
Ali Abdelaziz, Usman’s manager, told TMZ Sports the event “absolutely can happen” but added UFC President Dana White likely holds all of the cards. Abdelaziz went on to say White might be motivated to see Usman “put [Paul’s] face through his head.”
Conor McGregor had a layoff of nearly two years from mixed martial arts, in part to fight Floyd Mayweather Jr., so it wouldn’t be unprecedented for a top UFC star to take a long hiatus in favor of a massive money-making venture.
In an earlier interview with TMZ Sports, Usman said nothing in his immediate future looks all that interesting in the welterweight division. As a result, he might like to “beat the s–t” out of “one of these internet guys” if presented with the opportunity.
Paul claimed his pay-per-view knockout of Ben Askren generated $75 million. That figure would only climb higher if he were to face off with a more notable MMA star.
But White would have to balance that against the long-term repercussions of having Usman take part. The possibility of more eyeballs being drawn to UFC may not outweigh having one of his most dominant champions lose to Paul.