No. 4 ranked welterweight contender Jorge Masvidal spoke with ESPN’s Ariel Helwani on a variety of topics ahead of his April 24 rematch against Kamaru Usman for the welterweight championship at UFC 261.
One of the topics Masvidal and Helwani touched on was the boxing match between YouTube sensation turned professional boxer Jake Paul and former Bellator and ONE Championship welterweight champion Ben Askren that takes place Saturday.
Askren was also one of Masvidal’s most bitter rivals, with that rivalry abruptly ending after Masvidal knocked Askren out in just five seconds with a flying knee at UFC 239.
Masvidal and Paul made waves on social media when the latter posted a picture of them training together ahead of Paul’s bout with Askren.
View this post on Instagram A post shared by Jake Paul (@jakepaul)
Helwani asked “Gamebred” what his motivation was to assist Paul in his preparation to box Masvidal’s former rival.
Masvidal said that a primary reason was the overwhelming amount of negative responses he got from fans.
“I was like, ‘Guess what? I’m inviting Jake Paul to my motherf—ing wedding. He’s gonna be my best man.’ Nobody tells me what to do,” Masvidal said. “As soon as people started getting upset, I was like, ‘Yep, get really upset because now I’m gonna train this motherf—er to knock out the dude that I can’t stand in any dimension.’”
Masvidal doubled down on his disdain for Askren, saying he hopes Paul knocks out Askren in devastating fashion.
“Would I love to see Ben get laid out again for all the s–t talking that he still continues to do ‘til this day? Hell yeah,” Masvidal said. “If I could add to that f—ing knockout, why not? Just so Ben could think, ‘Damn, just maybe Masvidal showing him this or that led to my downfall?’ Count me in, count me in.”
Does Jorge Masvidal think Jake Paul is a legit boxer?
“Gamebred” also addressed former boxers like Mike Tyson and Zab Judah crediting Paul with possessing technical prowess.
“I’ve seen him spar, I’ve seen him do things. I’ll tell you what, for his size? Man, he’s got decent hand-eye coordination,” Masvidal said. “Now, can I say he’s legit? Hitting the bag, he looked smooth. Hitting the pads, he looked smooth. And in sparring, he’s done some things that looked good. But boxing is about fighting, man. So, legit to what level? Are you talking about him fighting with Zab Judah? No. He’s not gonna beat Zab Judah. But is he gonna f—ing beat the s–t out of Ben Askren? He’s legit as f—, he’s gonna beat the dog s–t out of him.”
Despite their bad blood, Masvidal did present a situation where Akren could potentially be victorious.
“Ben does have experience. Ben could get him tired, maybe fourth, fifth round. Jake’s never been in these areas, things could happen,” Masvidal said. “As long as [Paul] sticks to what he knows and does what he’s supposed to do, I think he’s a much better athlete. I think he naturally hits way harder than Ben.”
After presenting a potential route to victory for Askren, Masvidal gave his prediction for the fight.
“I think Jake beats him fairly easy. But I think that about anybody that has two hands that’s gonna f—ing fight Ben,” Masvidal said. “It’s not so much that [Askren] doesn’t have the DNA for it, he’s a disrespectful motherf—er. He’s said it in interviews, ‘I don’t need to do striking. I don’t practice striking. I just go in there and wrestle these guys.’ Well he’s said that his whole career, his whole life. It’s true, that’s always what he’s done. So now, overnight, you’re gonna learn how to box in just a straight boxing setting? Where you’re not allowed to hold and take guys down? I don’t think so amigo.”
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UPDATE: Since this article’s writing, TikTok star Justine Paradise has accused Jake Paul of sexually assaulting her in 2019. Paul has since published a statement on Twitter denying these allegations. ESPN’s Marc Raimondi reported that attorney Daniel E. Gardenswartz said Paul “categorically denies the allegation” and plans on pursuing “legal action against those responsible for defamation of character” in a statement to ESPN.