Daniel Cormier is willing to take things to the next level with Jake Paul — with a catch.
Cormier challenged the YouTube sensation to an MMA fight after a heated exchange between the two at UFC 261 on Saturday night. The former UFC heavyweight and light-heavyweight champion said on ESPN’s “DC & Helwani” show on Monday that he had no reason to chase a boxing payday with Paul, who is coming off a knockout win over ex-MMA champion Ben Askren in a boxing match. But if Paul really wants to fight, he’s willing to give him one — but in a cage. Paul already floated the idea of them fighting in a tweet on April 18, calling Cormier a “fat boy.”
“This kid wants to fight, OK, I’ll fight him, but it will be a mixed martial arts competition,” the 42-year-old Cormier told co-host Ariel Helwani. “If he wants to actually fight me, fight me in mixed martial arts. I’ll fight him all the way down at 205 [pounds].”
Cormier did not sound optimistic about the 24-year-old Paul’s chances in that scenario. He said he wanted to “grab him by the face and smash him into the ground” and “torture him.”
“I’m going to rip his face apart,” Cormier said. “I’m going to hurt the kid. I will teach these kids not to continue to do this with people like me — athletes. Ariel, I will hurt this kid. … I’m gonna choke him, I’m gonna elbow him. I’m gonna hurt him.”
If the bout was to occur in the UFC, Paul may have a challenging time getting Dana White on board. He called the UFC president a “real douche” in a Februart tweet and was recently critical of the company’s compensation for its fighters. White said during the UFC 261 press conference that Paul “aint fighting in the UFC.”
“In my third fight I made more in total pay than any fighter in UFC history,” wrote Paul, who claims his fight with Askren did 1.5 million pay-per-view buys and generated $75 million in revenue. “Maybe it’s time to pay your fighters their fair share? No wonder they all want to get into boxing.”
If he is going to fight Cormier, it’s unlikely it will be in a boxing ring. Cormier could also just be having fun stirring the pot and enjoying the attention.
“My name will not be used as a springboard,” Cormier said. “I love my legacy and I will protect my legacy. And if protecting my legacy means I gotta slap this kid upside his head, that’s what I’ll do.”
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