Michael Bisping calls Jake Paul challenging Nate Diaz to MMA fight ‘all smoke and mirrors’



Jake Paul v Anderson Silva
Nate Diaz | Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Michael Bisping believes that Jake Paul’s announced foray into martial arts is just another promotional trick.

“The Problem Child” recently signed with the PFL with plans to compete in MMA and along with that news came a challenge from Paul for Diaz to meet him in a two-fight series that would first take place in a boxing ring and then in a cage under MMA rules. Paul and Diaz have publicly jabbed at each other in the past, with the odds of a clash between the two only increasing with Diaz becoming a free agent following UFC 279 this past September.

Though Diaz would presumably have the advantage in the cage, Bisping doesn’t like that Paul is once again targeting an opponent smaller than him and that he’s dictating terms.

“It’s the same old story, isn’t it?” Bisping said on his YouTube channel. “Same old story because Nate Diaz fought almost all of his fights at 155 and a few at 170, but he’s a lightweight generally. He’s a lightweight. Jake Paul weighs over 200 pounds and I’ve been through this, it’s every single time I talk about it. He’s bigger, he’s stronger, he’s faster, he’s a boxer, and he wants to go first because he’ll probably knock Nate Diaz out or beat him in the very least in a boxing fight.

“That’s not me being a Nate Diaz hater, it’s just what my analysis tells me and it’s what your analysis would tell you as well, let’s be honest. He wants to beat him in that first so it leaves that little bit in the mind for when they do have the mixed martial arts fight. Again, that wouldn’t get sanctioned normally, he’s way too big.”

Bisping’s appraisal of the matchup hasn’t changed since November, where he commented on rumors of a potential Paul-Diaz fight, predicting that it would not ‘go very well’ for Diaz. The 18-year MMA veteran ended his UFC run with mixed results, going 4-3 in sporadic appearances since 2015 and most recently defeating Tony Ferguson by fourth-round submission.

Regardless of how a fight with Paul plays out, Bisping sees Diaz as the latest opponent that Paul has chosen based on name recognition and potential drawing power rather than in the interest of building a legitimate martial arts resume.

“Now, Nate Diaz, he’s a decent boxer, he’s as tough as they come, he’s got great jiu-jitsu, but he’s not known for being the best wrestler,” Bisping said. “So maybe, could he take Jake Paul down? Is Nate Diaz at the end of his career? This is all smoke and mirrors. This is all just Jake Paul trying to navigate the waters of how he can continue to make money. He can’t do it in boxing because in boxing if he’s going to have a big boxing fight, it has to be against a real boxer and a real boxer would more than likely beat him, which is not what they want. He can’t continue calling up former UFC legends that are retired because that’s not doing it anymore either. Yeah, he’s winning the fights, God bless him, fair play to him there. Solid win over Anderson, whether or not he’s old, he’s still Anderson Silva, and he beat Tyron Woodley twice. Before that it was Ben Askren, who’s a wrestler, then it was a basketballer.

“The point I’m making is he’s never fought a boxer, but even still, these former UFC legends, they’re not pulling in the pay-per-view numbers. So now he’s going to have to fight mixed martial arts, which on paper makes it sound like Jake Paul is doing the right thing. He’s being courageous, he’s willing to switch sports. But he’s not. It’s going to be hand-picked opponents. Nate Diaz in a boxing match first that’ll be co-promoted by the PFL. And then mixed martial arts, again, yeah Nate Diaz is the better mixed martial artist for sure, but size is a real thing.”

Paul has become one of the most-talked about athletes in combat sports, carrying his previous social media and YouTube notoriety into the space while also forming his own promotion, Most Valuable Promotions, to have more control over his fighting career.

Could Paul having an executive role in the two-fight series with Diaz possibly give him another edge?

“When two people fight, the promoter arranges a lot of things,” Bisping said. “Press. Interviews. Hotel. Airport. Flights. Pickups. All the rest of it. There’s nothing to stop that promoter messing with that opponent big time and if Jake Paul’s the promoter, he can arrange you don’t get picked up from the airport on time.

“They’re giving interviews in the middle of the night. Their PR schedule is just absolutely through the roof. Just lots of little things that would mess with the opponents. Now that would be pretty dirty and I’m not saying that Jake would do that, but it does leave the door open for those kinds of things.”

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