Listen, folks, not to be the bearer of bad news, but you read the title correctly. Jake Paul is the second coming of Conor McGregor that we deserve, but not the one we want or asked for. Between Paul’s box office draw, marketing ability, and enough potential opponents for five lifetimes, it’s hard to deny the similarities to peak McGregor.
Okay, their discrepancy in ability is obvious, Paul is not the world’s best boxer at any weight, but that is actually his strongest asset. McGregor was only known in the European MMA scene at age 24, fighting for Cage Warriors throughout most of his early career. Paul already has two main event pay-per-views under his belt. With the sad state of boxing, and Paul’s ability to pay for the best coaching there is, it is not hard to see why he can’t become a legitimate contender in boxing. Hell, he looked to be in the same ballpark as Tommy Fury when it comes to ability in the ring.
Both men are huge draws, both from a pay-per-view and from a ticket sales perspective. Both men can sell out any arena in America, and Paul is doing it three years younger than McGregor was. To compare their overall draw, Paul’s most recent fight against Tyron Woodley, is rumored to have surpassed 1.3 million pay-per-view buys, which is in the top 20 of all time. McGregor entered the top 20 with his fight in 2015 against Jose Aldo. The Notorious was 28 when he accomplished this feat. Not only was Paul four years younger than McGregor, but he only had four years of striking experience, compared to McGregor’s being 16 – McGregor started boxing at Crumlin Boxing Club at age 12.
Who doesn’t want to fight Paul? Who does Paul want to fight? The answers: basically no one, and basically everyone, respectively. Paul has already “called out” Tim Tebow for his next bout after unretiring just days after retiring on Twitter. Don’t worry if you missed that, and by the way – retiring and un-retiring is something McGregor is well known for. Paul has the attention of half the boxing world and three-quarters of the MMA world. Boxers just above, at, or below Paul’s skill level are doing whatever they can to gain his attention and a chance at the limelight of a Paul PPV. Many known and unknown fighters in the UFC have been looking for a shot at the younger Paul brother while very notable names have been linked to him, such as Chael Sonnen, Nate Diaz, and Kamaru Usman. UFC newcomers also want a chance to raise their name value with what they, rightly or wrongly, believe will be an easy win. Reminiscent of when McGregor starched Aldo just 13 seconds back in 2015 and suddenly after, the world was his oyster. Actually, that isn’t completely true, there was a lot of hype around McGregor back then, but his ability to fight anyone he chose to reached a new level following that fight and its build-up. Of course, McGregor can still pick anyone he wants to fight but it feels like Paul is on the upswing of his meteoric rise in the boxing world, a rise that is certainly ahead of where McGregor was at 24.
In what is, finally, maybe the strongest case for Paul being the fighter we deserve, but don’t want – his ability to market himself and keep us entertained. Surely many people thought they would lose interest after he knocked out Nate Robinson. However, the freak show continued as he picked a fight with MMA and built way more hype than a fight between a YouTuber and a 40-year-old wrestler with recent hip surgery should have. Men of lesser marketing prowess would’ve been stopped there, but not Paul. He managed to build a fight to an even higher level, taking on a former UFC welterweight champion. Woodley certainly had the ability to win that fight, but he hasn’t put anyone to sleep in a ring or cage with his fists since 2016. In hindsight, the fight with Woodley may have been yet another smart, safe, and highly marketable decision from Paul. The combination of the “feud” with Mama Woodley, the repeating giant robot that continues to show up without explanation and the tattoo bet all raised the stakes for this bout. And the cherry on top was Paul immediately building the next fight with Woodley during the post-fight interview, even with the chances of it happening being low.
Earnings Outside of Fighting
There is still one similarity no one is talking about, and that is the fact that neither of the two men in question made the majority of their wealth from fighting. According to Forbes.com, McGregor had 158 million of his 180 million dollar income of 2020 outside the cage. Paul, on the other hand, is rumored to have a net worth of 30 million dollars. While we have no idea of truly knowing how much of that is from fighting, an estimate of around four million in 2020 seems generous. Both Paul and McGregor now label themselves fighters, but their wallets beg to differ. If you are thinking, “yearly earnings and net worth aren’t the same,” it’s close enough.
Again, not to be the bearer of bad news, but Paul exhibits all the signs of being the second coming of McGregor. His net worth is only growing, and so is his legitimacy as a fighter with each bout. He has shown he is a master of keeping the attention of the news cycle, which will serve to increase his notoriety. McGregor, for as great as he was at his peak, has much more difficult of a path to reaching new highs. With only one combat sports win since 2016, it is hard to keep your mystique. Combine that with a verbal sparring record that has been severely tarnished by the likes of Dustin Poirier, Usman, and Diaz, it seems like the Irishman’s career peak is behind him. That being the case, Paul not only knows where the bar is but has a roadmap to get there. His upper hand – he’s boxing so his income from each fight will be better, and he has a very dedicated following of people that will only get older and soon will send their OWN money to the Paul brothers instead of their parents. Watch out for Paul, he isn’t what we had hoped for when thinking about a McGregor 2.0, but with all the negativity around MMA twitter, maybe it’s what we deserve.
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