Paul (5-0) takes on Silva (3-1) in the headliner of a Showtime pay-per-view event Oct. 29 at Desert Diamond Arena in Glendale, Ariz. If he can get past the former UFC middleweight champion, Paul thinks Diaz would be a solid test for him next.
Although Diaz just fought out his UFC contract, Paul still considers him an active UFC fighter in his prime. Diaz is coming off a submission win over Tony Ferguson at UFC 279 and also showed interest in a potential fight with Paul.
“I would be surprised if he actually was a free agent,” Paul told MMA Junkie. “I feel like Dana (White) has a way of tying these guys in, like hidden into the contract. That’s just how I feel about it, I don’t know if it’s true or not. But yeah, if he can actually become a free agent then I think that’s a cool fight. I would love to do that. I’m not overlooking Anderson Silva, but there’s beef between Nate Diaz and I.
“He’s a big name. He went out with a bang, had an electric performance, and people are saying, ‘Oh, you’re fighting these retired MMA fighters.’ No I’m not. Anderson never retired and Nate Diaz left winning and he’s one of the baddest men on the planet. So what about fighting an active UFC fighter? What now? So that’s why I think that fight is interesting. Hopefully I get through Anderson, and hopefully Nate Diaz can get out of his contract and we’ll see if that makes sense.”
If the Diaz fight doesn’t materialize, Paul thinks beating Silva will open plenty of doors for him, regardless.
“There are other big fights out there,” Paul said. “I think after I beat Anderson Silva, a lot more people will want to fight me. I think bigger boxers will want to fight me, and if I can beat Anderson Silva the way that I think I can, it creates this paradox. Let me explain it to you. Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. vs. Canelo (Alvarez), 12-round fight, very competitive. Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. vs. Anderson, Anderson wins easily. Anderson is better than Julio Cesar Chavez, which means Anderson would have been more competitive with Canelo. I beat Anderson, that makes me highly competitive with Canelo.”