CLEVELAND – Jake Paul is certain he already beat a tougher UFC fighter than Conor McGregor.
There is no doubt, though, that McGregor is a bigger star than Tyron Woodley, which would make Paul-McGregor an even bigger event than the spectacle that did big business both at the gate and on pay-per-view Sunday night. McGregor Tweeted the word “salivating” Sunday night in reference to the Paul-Woodley boxing match at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
The provocative Paul, who edged Woodley by split decision in their eight-round cruiserweight contest, issued a message of his own to McGregor during his post-fight press conference early Monday morning.
“For sure,” Paul said regarding a showdown with McGregor. “You know, we’re on the path to a lot bigger fights. I’m salivating, too, because I’m just getting warmed up. You know, Conor McGregor has a lot more to focus on besides me right now. I’m five wins in a row. He’s 1-3 in the past four years. So, guy needs to get off his little vodka or whatever the f---- his brand is, and sober up and start to get back in the f------ gym, and then we can f------- fight.
“But to be honest, no way he hits harder than Woodley. He doesn’t weigh as much as Woodley. He’s shorter than Woodley. I said it before the fight – I think Woodley’s a harder fight than him. Especially on the way where he’s going. Conor’s going down. I’m going up. Woodley came in game. We’ll see.”
Woodley pushed Paul (4-0, 3 KOs) much more than any of his first three opponents – YouTube rival Ali Eson Gib, retired NBA point guard Nate Robinson and retired UFC welterweight Ben Askren. The former UFC welterweight champion buzzed Paul with a right hand during the fourth round, but Paul fought through fatigue to defeat his 39-year-old opponent on two of three scorecards.
Judges Dana DePaolo (78-74) and Jaime Garayua (77-75) scored their competitive clash for Paul. Judge Phil Rogers credited Woodley with a 77-75 victory.
Ireland’s McGregor, meanwhile, is recovering from a fractured tibia suffered during his first-round, technical-knockout loss to UFC rival Dustin Poirier last month. Poirier defeated McGregor for a second time in their third fight, the main event at UFC 264 on July 10 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
The 33-year-old McGregor, who is commonly considered the biggest star in UFC history, lost his only professional boxing match to Floyd Mayweather. The undefeated Mayweather stopped McGregor in the 10th round of their 12-round junior middleweight match in August 2017 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.