Paul, whose foray into the sport has met with skepticism, fell to the canvas in tears, then celebrated by doing push-ups in the ring and joining Snoop Dogg in the broadcast booth after the bout in Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium was called at 1:59.
“It’s been four months. I’ve been in training camp every day,” Paul said on Triller Fight Club (via ESPN) after the fight. “I deserved that s—. This is the craziest moment of my life. I told y’all I was going to do it in the first round. I told y’all I’m a real fighter. I don’t know how many times I’ve got to prove myself this is for real.”
The 24-year-old fighter landed nine of 26 punches to Askren’s three of 14. In an earlier bout, Paul knocked out former basketball player Nate Robinson in the first round on the undercard of the Mike Tyson-Roy Jones Jr. main event in November. In his pro debut in January 2020 against fellow YouTuber AnEsonGib, he won in a first-round TKO.
The 36-year-old Askren, a former UFC fighter who trained for three months after coming out of retirement to face Paul, apologized on social media and said he was embarrassed by his performance. Although he got to his feet before completion of the 10-count, the referee stopped the fight. Later, he was asked about being mocked for his showing.
“It’s probably deserved,” Askren said (via MMA Junkie), “because I got knocked out by Jake Paul. It’s f—— embarrassing. I didn’t let the MMA community down, I let the world down. People f—— hate Jake Paul and they wanted to see me make him miserable and I didn’t do that. So I didn’t let the MMA community down, I let the world down.”
It was a surprising result, given UFC President Dana White’s comment that he would wager $1 million that Paul would lose. An actor and rapper, Paul starred on Vine, the old video app, and portrayed Dirk Mann on the Disney Channel’s “Bizaardvark” for two seasons. After winning each of his fights by knockout, he didn’t say whom he’d like to face next, but Askren had a suggestion.
“I would love Tyron [Woodley, a former UFC champion] to whoop him up,” Askren said. “Tyron wants to fight Oscar De La Hoya, but I would love for Tyron to fight Jake Paul. I mean he’s a significantly better boxer than I am. That would be my guy.”