CLEVELAND -- Jake Paul is taking aim at a former ally.
The YouTuber-turned-prizefighter blasted UFC star Jorge Masvidal in a media scrum Wednesday following Paul's workout at Public Square and said he wants to fight him in the future. Paul takes on former UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley in a boxing match Sunday in Cleveland, Paul's hometown.
"I would love to fight Masvidal," Paul said. "I think it could very, very much so happen."
Paul and Masvidal were friendly during the lead-up to Paul's boxing match with Ben Askren in April. Masvidal stopped Askren in 2019 with the record for fastest knockout in UFC history, five seconds. Paul and Masvidal trained together a bit before Paul's bout with Askren, and Paul even video called Masvidal during a prefight news conference, with both razzing Askren.
But last week on "The MMA Hour" with Ariel Helwani, Masvidal said it was likely that Woodley would not only beat Paul, but "knock him the f--- out."
"Not to diss Jake, but Woodley can throw them hands," Masvidal said. "Ben Askren never could. You've got a guy that can fight and sling fists when it's time. Woodley could have made his money grappling, which he did. He was good enough of an athlete, and he was good enough of an athlete to make money with his hands, to knock people the f--- out.
"I know Jake's never been in there with a guy like that, that's explosive, that's a good athlete, and has a ton of experience over him. If Jake wins, f---ing wow. My hat's off to him. I was wrong. I don't know shit about fighting, right? But chances are Woodley's going to knock him the f--- out."
Masvidal and Woodley are both represented by First Round Management and have a longtime affiliation with American Top Team, so Paul said he was not necessarily surprised by Masvidal's prediction.
"He has the same manager as Woodley," Paul said, referring to the Kawa brothers, Malki and Abe. "And the guy is kind of an airhead. Let's be honest. Masvidal is not smart. Does anyone here listen to a Masvidal interview and go, 'Wow that guy is intellectual and he's a smart guy and the way he talks, he's very well spoken.' He's a street fighter, gangster who got knocked the f--- out in his last fight, so maybe he's losing a few brain cells."
Kamaru Usman knocked out Masvidal at UFC 261 in April to retain the UFC welterweight title. Paul sat front row at that event in Jacksonville, Florida, and got booed lustily by the UFC fans there. At one point, the entire crowd chanted "F--- Jake Paul!" Paul and Usman have also exchanged some words in interviews and social media.
But Paul said things are a bit different with Masvidal, because the two used to be on good terms.
"One moment, he's my friend," Paul said. "Texted me like saying, 'Yo, let's train. Yo, let's do a video together. Yo, can you come to my bakery down the street, I want to do a little thing with you.' And then, oh snap, all of a sudden he wants to switch up. Cool. That's not how I was raised. Not here in Ohio. If I'm your friend, I'm your friend."
Masvidal took to Twitter to respond to Paul on Wednesday night.
"I guess this means you'll stop hitting me up now on social media to hang out and train," Masvidal wrote. "Don't worry about me you got a handful of problems coming your way."