DALLAS - Jack Paul was answering questions about 35 minutes into the news conference when his upcoming opponent, Nate Diaz, tipped his hat backwards, got up and walked off stage.
"Is this guy leaving?" Paul asked. MMAFighting's Ariel Helwani, who was officiating the festivities at the American Airlines Center, told Paul that Diaz was "going to the restroom." Paul lowered his head and rubbed his right hand on his forehead.
"Jesus Christ," said Paul. "I've never seen anything like it." Paul vs. Diaz in the leadup and fight is sure to have many uttering those exact words.
On the one hand is Paul, the YouTube-star-turned-prize-fighter who has made a living getting under people's skin on social media and turning the sport of boxing on its head. Diaz, on the other hand, is a grizzled former UFC star with a huge cult following who choked out Conor McGregor and has built a reputation as a guy who will fight anyone, anywhere, at any time -- a distinction he'll back up in time. Don't mind and again
Paul and Diaz will fight in a boxing match here on August 5. But the first press conference between them went down on Tuesday and there were plenty of interesting tidbits, notes and observations.
Paul said in November 2020 interviews after knocking out former NBA player Nate Robinson that one of his primary goals was to one day box UFC superstar Conor McGregor. McGregor, Paul said, was like his ultimate boss.
At this time, some turned their eyes. But Paul has established himself as one of boxing's biggest stars over the past three years. And now Paul believes he is closer than ever to making his dream fight happen.
"I see a road map where I knock out Nate and then go to Conor McGregor," Paul told ESPN. "To do what Conor couldn't -- knock out Nate [Diaz] -- and then it's going to be the biggest fight in the fight game that could possibly be done."
Diaz and McGregor fought twice in 2016. The first time, Diaz finished McGregor with a submission. The second time, McGregor won by majority decision.