HomeSportsWATCH: Jake Paul, Ben Askren Stare Down Turns Physical in a Hurry

WATCH: Jake Paul, Ben Askren Stare Down Turns Physical in a Hurry

by Chris Haney
(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

On Friday, things got heated between former MMA champ Ben Askren and YouTuber Jake Paul during the press conference leading up to their April fight.

The two fighters came face-to-face for the first time after months of trash talking back and forth online. The verbal jabs continued as the pair finally met in-person on Friday. Their pre-fight appearance did not disappoint and only added to the hype surrounding the fight.

At one point, Askren told Paul he could realistically “do a homicide” on the YouTuber if he felt inclined to do so. As a former college wrestling champion and MMA champion, it’s not a stretch to believe.

Additionally, Jake Paul went on an offensive of his own. He cussed Askren out before bringing in reinforcements to poke fun at the former UFC fighter. Paul FaceTimed Jorge Masvidal, who owns the quickest knockout in UFC history. Paul trolled Askren with the phone call because Masvidal knocked out Askren in 2019 with a flying knee in only five seconds.

By the time Paul and Askren came together for close-up photos, the former champ became fed up with his opponent’s antics, which he’s had to hear for months online. Askren shoved the YouTuber in his face as he walked away. Paul immediately retaliated with a sucker punch to Askren’s right side before pushing the fighter in his back.

Askren laughed off Paul’s punch as he simply walked away from the situation. The tense encounter is a preview of things to come next month. They obviously don’t like each other, so there’s no love lost between the two fighters who will enter the ring on April 17.

Jake Paul and Ben Askren Go at It on Social Media

During the months since Ben Askren and Jake Paul announced their fight, the two have traded insults online often. The YouTuber has made it his mission to try to get under Askren’s skin. One of his main jokes about Askren is saying he looks like Napoleon Dynamite. In January, Askren addressed the amusing comparison.

Askren posted side-by-side photos of himself and an image of  Jon Heder’s title character from 2004’s Napoleon Dynamite. Turns out that the MMA fighter loved the film, but doesn’t see the connection.

“I love Napoleon Dynamite but I just don’t see the resemblance,” he wrote on Twitter.

Additionally, Jake Paul has even involved Askren’s wife, Amy, in his trash talk. There doesn’t seem to be much that’s considered off limits for the internet celebrity.

During an interview, the YouTube star called Amy “thicc” and said he might have to take her from her husband following their fight. His comments caused a stir with many calling him disrespectful. Yet anyone who knows Paul knows it’s all part of his schtick. It’s to be expected from the 24-year-old wannabe boxer.

Once again, Askren was a good sport about it and called Paul’s jokes “awkward.” He and Amy even had some fun over Paul’s comments with a video they posted to Askren’s Instagram account.

This will be the first true test of Paul’s short boxing career. Previously, he’s fought two other celebrities – another YouTuber and former NBA player Nate Robinson. Paul knocked out each fighter, but his next opponent is a professional. Askren is a former UFC competitor, Bellator champion, and ONE Championship titleholder, so Paul could be in for a rude awakening.

Askren is scheduled to face Paul in an eight-round boxing match on April 17 live on FITE pay-per-view from inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia.