Jake Paul's fighting Hasim Rahman Jr. August 6, but the world's most controversial boxer has his sights set on another opponent -- Nate Diaz -- telling TMZ Sports the UFC superstar is the guy he wants to put hands on more than anyone else ... at least in the short term.
"I think Nate Diaz is first and foremost," 25-year-old Paul told Babcock when he joined the "TMZ Sports" TV show (weekdays on FS1).
"That's the one that everyone's been wanting. Everyone knows he only has one or two fights left with the UFC."
Jake continued ... "So, hopefully, when he's done with that, we can run it back because there's some unsettled s**t talk there."
(Note: Jake and Nate haven't fought -- but have exchanged some trash talk)
We also asked Jake for the short list of fighters, aside from Rahman Jr., who he considered as replacements for Tommy Fury ... after Tyson's bro dropped out of their scheduled match for a second time.
"Yeah, there was Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. as well. I still want that fight,.I think it can happen one day."
Paul also considered an MMA G.O.A.T. ... who like Jake has had success in the boxing ring of late (Spider actually beat Chavez Jr. in a boxing match in 2021).
"Anderson Silva was on that list, but he's in a tricky contract with Triller from what I'm told. So, it wasn't easy to make that fight happen right away, and yeah, just waiting for some guys to get out of their UFC contract to put them to sleep, too."
But, first things first, Jake's got his hands full with 12-1 Rahman Jr. -- son of former 2x heavyweight champ, Hasim Rahman Sr. -- live on Showtime PPV from at Madison Square Garden -- as the former YouTuber looks to go a perfect 6-0.