Although it didn’t go to plan, Ben Askren (19-2 MMA) planned on being the one to end the Jake Paul experiment before it even began. 

During the rise of ‘influencer boxing’ in 2020, it was mocked by most professional fighters who believed it was nothing more than a fad.

The emergence of controversial YouTuber Jake Paul to the ‘influencer boxing’ scene did however add some intrigue. 

Paul’s professional boxing career began with knockout wins over the likes of influencer Ali Eson Gib and former NBA player Nate Robinson kept the train moving. 

Although Jake Paul’s wins continued to push him into the limelight, many people knew that he was beating untrained fighters. Despite this, his obnoxious persona attracted fans who tuned in to watch him receive some long-overdue karma.

Despite this, fans could see visible improvement in Paul’s boxing ability, they knew someone with some fighting experience would have to be called upon. 

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That someone was Ben Askren

‘Funky’ had one of the best wrestling pedigrees in MMA, however, when it came to fighting Jake Paul, it was apparent his best days were behind him. 

Unfortunately for the optimistic MMA fans, Ben Askren’s striking was exposed by YouTuber Jake Paul, and paid the ultimate price after getting knocked out one minute and 59 seconds into the first round. 

Ben Askren gives his prediction for Jake Paul Vs. Nate Diaz

Since Pauls’s fight with Askren, ‘The Problem Child’ has racked up wins against the likes of Tyron Woodley (19-7-1 MMA) and Anderson Silva (34-11 MMA), amassing a record of 6-1. 

Following Jake Paul’s latest loss to Tommy Fury, he is set to face another UFC legend, Nate Diaz (21-13 MMA), on August 5th

In a recent interview on ‘Daniel Cormier TV’, Ben Askren admitted he overlooked Jake Paul as a legitimate threat, however, he is done doubting his former opponent. 

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“I got to imagine [he beats Diaz],” Ben Askren stated. 

“I didn’t think Jake Paul would beat Tyron [Woodley] or Anderson Silva. So yeah, I kind of think so. It sounded like fun [to box him] and I hoped he sucked. We didn’t know at that point! At that point, he only boxed a comedian or something and a basketball player. So we didn’t know nothing. I thought, ‘Oh, hopefully, this dude’s just a bum. He’s gonna try and hit me hard for a round, he’s gonna get tired, then I’m gonna beat him up.’ We didn’t know he was any good.”

Despite Nate Diaz’s impressive fighting lineage, Askren believes that Diaz is underestimating Paul and making the same mistake he made.

Regardless, with a win over Nate Diaz, the 26-year-old social media star will be eyeing up a high-profile affair with Conor McGregor (22-6 MMA). The tie between the three of them would be McGregor’s long-standing rivalry with Diaz in the UFC. 

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Assuming McGregor would be willing and interested in another crossover boxing bout, Askren sees it being profitable for all involved. 

“Yeah, I did [make more money fighting Paul],” Askren exclaimed.

“I think McGregor times Jake Paul makes everyone a lot of money and I think if he beats up Nate Diaz it makes a lot of sense. I don’t know what Conor’s contract is or what his relationship is with UFC where he can go get it done but I think a lot of people buy that fight. I think there’s a lot of casual fans who just want to see a boxing match and you know what, Jake Paul’s actually not bad at boxing, and maybe I’m just trying to make myself feel better potentially, but he did beat Tyron, he did beat Anderson Silva.”

Does Ben Askren have a point? Would Jake Paul vs. Conor McGregor make sense?

Combat sports journalist based out of the UK. Follow @OliverBrockett on Twitter for all things MMA and Boxing.