In August, Paul faced Diaz in their long-awaited boxing match, winning a unanimous decision after 10 competitive rounds. Following the fight, both combatants made overtures about possibly running things back in an MMA bout, but with Paul now set to return to the boxing ring in December, it appears those talks have fallen through. And according to Paul, the blame belongs squarely with Diaz.
“I don’t know if I’d use the word close,” Paul told Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour when asked about the matchup. “I think there was a point where there was genuine interest from his team in making it happen, and then there was just radio silence after that. Then he’s calling it the P**** FL and all this stuff. It’s like, OK, bro, you either want to make this happen or not.
“And he’s saying, ‘Oh, we’ll do it under Real Fight [Inc].’ That’s not a real thing. We taught them about the business, we taught them how to run their operation, and we let them put their logos on the mat. They don’t have a promotion, they don’t have any infrastructure, they don’t have the funding to make any event possible, so he’s just hiding behind this notion that he doesn’t want to fight in the PFL. But look, I think eventually he’s going to need or want the money. So I’m not writing it off. Like I said, we’re fully ready to make it happen, and he just has gone silent.”
“Real Fight Inc.” is the name of Diaz’s promotion, and it served as co-promoters for the Paul boxing match; the company has yet to put on another event. Paul, meanwhile, is partnered with PFL for his MMA career and recently did a photo shoot in PFL gear, teasing a potential MMA debut. With Paul currently focused on climbing the ranks in boxing, when and if that debut happens is far from certain, but Paul says that it could come at any time, especially if Diaz decides to play ball.
“Just to make sure that my headshots, and we have some videos ready in case an opponent comes out of nowhere and we want to make an MMA fight happen quickly,” Paul said about those photos in PFL gear. “I think that’s the biggest thing with me going over to MMA, the opponent has to make a ton of sense. It has to be a big name but at the same time it has to be a fight where I think it’s 50/50.
“Nate Diaz is the perfect person for that because I genuinely, whole-heartedly, in the bottom of my heart know that I can beat him, but I also know it’s going to be a challenge and I’d have to really, really work for it. But that’s what excites me, going into these fights with it being a 50/50 percent chance of outcome.”
For the time being though, MMA will have to wait.
Paul is set to face professional boxer Andre August in an eight round matchup on Dec. 15 at Caribe Royale Resort in Orlando, Fla. Paul chose this matchup because he wants to start fighting real boxers instead of MMA fighters and influencers, with the ultimate goal of earning a shot at Canelo Alvarez.
That means that for the time being, Paul is focused on boxing, but he did suggest that sometime next year he will be ready to step inside the SmartCage.
“Potentially — that’s what we wanted for Nate,” Paul said about fighting in MMA next year. “We said late 2024, and tried to move the deal forward to no avail. So that’s what we were circling, but right now, there’s a lack of an opponent that makes sense.”