Daniel Cormier ‘not interested’ in working with Jake Paul at AKA for possible MMA debut

The Underground
jake paul
Apr 24, 2021; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; YouTube start Jake Paul is confronted by UFC ringside announcer Daniel Cormier before Anthony Smith (Red Gloves) fights Jimmy Crute (Blue Gloves) during UFC 261 at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Former UFC two-division champion Daniel Cormier has no interest in working with Jake Paul if the YouTuber turned boxing sensation trained for a possible MMA debut at American Kickboxing Academy.

AKA is one of the most elite gyms in MMA. It has been the training home for countless UFC stars and champions like Cain Velasquez, Luke Rockhold, Jon Fitch, Islam Makhachev, Khabib Nurmagomedov, and Cormier. It’s the reason why Paul suggested the facility as a destination if he were to take his evolving fight talents from boxing to the cage.

The possibility of the “Problem Child” competing in MMA seems like an eventuality after he proclaimed last month — before his knockout win over former UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley — that fighting in the cage would 100% happen one day. Fuel was added to that fire last week when Paul posted video to social media of training kicks for the first time and then was linked to reports on Saturday of preliminary contract talks with PFL MMA.

Daniel Cormier not interested in training with Jake Paul

However, if such an event did come to pass, don’t expect Cormier — who still trains at the gym despite being retired — to help the Ohio native improve his wrestling before an MMA debut.

“No, I have no interest in that,” Cormier said in a Tuesday interview with The Schmo. “It seems like a lot of ploys, right? It’s always ploys. I don’t know how true much of it is, but it seems like a ploy to me, so I’m not gonna play that game.”

It’s not a surprise that Cormier has zero fascination with aiding Paul. “DC” has a close bond with UFC President Dana White, and the 24-year-old and promotional boss have had a public war of words over fighter pay and drug testing in recent weeks. Also, Cormier and Paul had an in-person confrontation when the 5-0 boxer attended UFC 261 in April of last year.

AKA founder Javier Mendez is a fan of Jake Paul’s marketing talents

jake paul
Dec 18, 2021; Tampa, FL, USA; Jake Paul is introduced prior to his bout against Tyron Woodley at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Although Cormier has no interest in Paul training at AKA, it looks like the gym’s founder and lead coach Javier Mendez isn’t against it. In a separate interview with The Schmo, Mendez admitted Paul has not formally requested to train at the gym. And even if he did, a vote would happen over the team’s comfort with the brash lightning rod talent training there. That said, the long-time coach to Cormier admits he has a great deal of respect for how Paul has turned himself into one of the biggest names in combat sports in such little time.

“It could happen [Paul training at AKA]. But like anybody, we have to go through all the coaches and all the fighters that are here. And anybody that’s a famous athlete like him, they would go through the routine that everybody does,” Mendez said. “So he would have to get voted by everybody — not everybody. If there’s one person in particular that doesn’t want him here for that particular reason, he can’t be here.”

“First of all, he’s never asked. What he’s done is he’s marketed himself out there beautifully,” he added. “I love the plug he gave us. I think it was a fantastic plug, and I think he is a fantastic person, and I think that he markets himself fantastically. I love what he does. He creates interest. How could you not like a guy who creates interest?”

Paul last fought in December, beating Woodley in a rematch of the pair’s first fight in August. He has knockout victories in four of his five bouts.

Do you think Cormier would get overruled and Paul could end up training out of AKA?


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