Jake Paul sees the brightest of futures in his boxing career and sees a path for himself to perhaps the most lucrative bout in the fight game against Conor McGregor.

That path goes though Nate Diaz.

Paul, the YouTube personality, rapper and actor who has crossed over into the boxing world, is schedule for his third professional boxing bout on April 17 when he takes on former MMA standout Ben Askren under the Triller banner.

Although there seems to be a lot of skepticism around Paul’s career, he promises he’s taking it seriously, and thinks Askren is merely the foundation to some truly marquee contests.

“We’ll see what happens after this fight,” Paul told MMA Junkie. “Floyd Mayweather called me out last week. I still think there’s the McGregor fight. Nate Diaz said he’s down to fight me. We’ll see what happens. I’m excited. This is just the start of an illustrious career. Ben Askren just happens to be the first on the list. People are going to see. They’re going to be surprised and it’s going to be hard for me to get a fight after this, to be honest. It really is. People are going to see my performance and say, ‘Let’s really second guess ourselves here because, do we want to lose to the Disney-channel, actor, boxer kid?”

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Eventually, though, Paul thinks his value and stardom is going to grow to the point where he’s going to be an irresistible fight to the biggest names in combat sports, such as the aforementioned Mayweather, McGregor and Diaz.

Diaz is a particularly intriguing matchup to Paul, he said, because in his mind it’s the most realistic, and it would also serve a greater purpose.

This month, Diaz said in an interview with ESPN that a boxing match with Paul would “for sure” happen “at some point.” According to Paul, the wheels are already starting to turn, and he claims Diaz has just two fights remaining on his UFC contract.

If that turns out to be the case, and they fight, Paul said he would produce a one-sided effort that would undoubtedly catch McGregor’s attention.

“I think Nate Diaz will probably happen first,” Paul said. “I think Conor needs to get some wins under his belt. Conor is owned by Dana White. Conor is Dana White’s (expletive), so he has to get Dana White’s approval. Nate Diaz only has two more fights in the UFC (on his contract), so if he can complete those and he’s freed up then Nate Diaz vs. Jake Paul will happen in 2022. Those are sort of the talks that are happening right now.

“Once I beat Nate Diaz. Once I embarrass him, actually, I will be undeniable to McGregor because I will say, ‘Hey, bubba. Listen to me guy, you little Irish guy: I beat the guy who beat you. So you have to fight me.’ That’s why this is so exciting. It’s one step at a time it’s one fight at a time. I still have a major milestone ahead of me April 17, and like I said, though, this is the start of an illustrious career. Ten years from now I’ll be coming to watch these interviews and I’ll be like, ‘Damn, this kid was a little evil genius, predicting all of this.”

For anyone who thinks Paul is getting too big for his bridges by dropping names such as Diaz or McGregor, he said he intends to prove otherwise inside the ring. Paul claims to be taking his boxing career with the utmost seriousness, and he said his upcoming clash with Askren will be another piece of evidence.

“I’ve done a great job of hiding my boxing ability because just the less people that know, the better,” Paul said. “But I think the cat’s sort of out of the bag. I think people are starting to catch on and be like, ‘Ah, this kid is not a (expletive) joke. I’m a real dog, man. I’m a real, bonafide, striking-ass, Navy-Seal-swinging-ass, mother(expletive) dog.”

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