UFC boss explains why Conor McGregor is the biggest UFC star: ‘The first guy that…’
While most MMA fighters dream of making it to the UFC and becoming a star of the sport, that is much easier said than done. Making it to the UFC, staying in the promotion and then also building up a sturdy fan base does not come without hurdles to get past. Even wining several fights in a row wont guarantee superstar status.
A clear example is Conor McGregor, who is a super star unlike that which the UFC has ever seen – Despite mixed results in his last few combat sports endeavours. UFC president Dana White recently spoke out about McGregor’s super stardom, and how he differentiates himself from previous stars.
“The way that it works in the UFC, these guys that become these big stars become partners,” White said during an appearance on Eddie Hearn’s Talk the Talk podcast. “They become partners in the pay-per-view and selling the pay-per-view, and that’s how we all make money. … From the Chuck Liddell’s to the Anderson Silva’s to the Georges St-Pierre’s to the Jon Jones, Ronda Rousey. They all brought something different to the table…
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“Whether it was Georges St-Pierre building the Canadian market for us,” White added. “Whether it was Anderson Silva in Brazil. Ronda Rousey bringing in women that would never watch the UFC in a million years. The difference between all of them and Conor McGregor, is Conor McGregor took us global. Everybody on Earth loved Conor McGregor and Conor McGregor opened up territories that had never been that interested in us before. Maybe we had a small fanbase there, but he blew the whole country up. He’s the first guy that truly was a global star.”
Some have called the UFC’s treatment of McGregor unfair when compared to other fighters. However, one can not deny the impact that the Irishman has made. McGregor has truly transcended the sport of MMA, becoming a household sports name for people with little knowledge of MMA. He most recently fought at UFC 246, finishing Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone via first round TKO.
Currently White thinks that McGregor ought to wait for a title shot at lightweight, fighting the winner between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Justin Gaethje. As of now McGregor doesn’t have a fight booked, however.