Dana White was cheered on and in battle mode even though it was almost midnight in Abu Dhabi on today’s Fight Island That wasn’t even part of MMA slang a year ago
“I’m great man, how are you?” White said in a telephone interview on Thursday – and how could the UFC president not feel good?
The first UFC card from 2021, which featured former featherweight champion Max Holloway beating Calvin Kattar for five rounds, was the first MMA event ever to air on ABC and three cards in the capital of the United Arab Emirates started
White was removed a day from the second card, a day-long series of fights that culminated with Michael Chiesa, who proved his welterweight spot with a unanimous win over Neil Magny
Also, White was two berths away from the return of former bifurcation champion Conor McGregor, Irish superstar and Crown Prince of MMA, who was returning to the Octagon for a rematch against former interim lightweight champion Dustin Poirier
White took the time to speak with the Southern California News Group about the UFC 257 main event, as well as what he and the UFC have accomplished in 2020 in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, and what’s on the agenda for 2021 stands:
Q: You got your first 2021 pay-per-view just two days away.What got you so fueled for UFC 257?
DW: To be honest, the whole ABC weekend was a great fight, top to bottom, we killed him Wednesday was a great show and now we’re rolling into Saturday and everything was perfect here. McGregor is like the old one McGregor when he walked in and was hungry Poirier is cheered for waiting so long for this fight The co-main event, Michael Chandler vs. Dan Hooker, also in the mix for the title hunt I’m looking forward to the fight between (Marina) Rodriguez and Amanda Ribas I’m excited about a lot of things
Q: What does it mean to have a legendary fighter and personality like Conor McGregor in the octagon?
DW: It’s fun man. It’s obviously exciting to have him here and let him fight. There’s this excitement and energy, not just here but all over the world over the fight social media is exploding it’s just fun It’s a fun week when he’s fighting
Q: Given that he’s retiring twice, and you seem to be firing him once after the New York bus accident, and he revealed your text messages last summer, where is your relationship with Conor McGregor now?
DW: We’re great He and I had a beef last summer that I didn’t think would be fixable We talked We fixed it We crushed it and we’re in a good place so I’m happy
Q: Is it even fair to look at the first match between McGregor and Poirier and draw conclusions from the McGregor knockout in the first round at UFC 178?
DW: I mean, yeah, I think that’s fair, but at the same time none of these guys are the same fighter They are completely different fighters Anything is possible But Conor McGregor hits like a truck He caught Dustin and knocked him out before
Q: Dustin Poirier is a guy who has done so much at the Octagon, won a preliminary lightweight title, and is on the verge of a potentially massive win over a name like Conor McGregor, but Poirier is more than just a fighter and I know for helping with his charity, The Good Fight Foundation What do you like about Poirier?
DW: I like everything about the kid. His backstory is great. He’s a good person to deal with. Every time he walks in, he wounds his ass off. You couldn’t ask more of a person than kind of person who is Dustin Poirier
Q: The winner of this fight seems to have a legitimate claim to an easy title shot Khabib Nurmagomedov is the champion but seems to be on hold on whether to retire or not What will the easy title landscape look like after Saturday night?
DW: Well of course we’ll see what Khabib wants after this weekend. But yeah, either Hooker or Chandler will win. Either Poirier or McGregor will win. And then Charles Oliveira put on an amazing performance against Tony Ferguson so there are many options in a division filled with incredible talent
Q: You had a lot of critics and skeptics when you announced plans to continue the fighting in 2020. I told people if there is one thing I have learned about Dana White after seeing what you do and what everyone at the UFC has done to take the UFC 232 off and move it from Las Vegas to the Inglewood forum in six days, don’t underestimate what Dana White can handle as you look back at what you and the UFC are in Have reached 2020?
DW: I’m obviously incredibly proud of it. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Not only did I know that my staff would go and I knew the fighters would fight. I know this sport and this company like mine Vest pocket And I knew I would spend the money and do anything to find out and my entire crew would go And here we are now in 2021, the sport that has been like a rocket ship for 20 years is even hotter right now
Q: Here we are in 2021 and we are still in an age of uncertainty about COVID, vaccines and fans attending sporting events, what do you envision for the UFC in 2021?
DW: I’ll keep doing exactly what we did in 20 I’ll keep my head down, keep plugging in, and come to Fight Island as often as necessary, using my own arena at UFC headquarters, The Apex, for mine Having fights in the US I’m thinking of going to Asia this year and hosting an event when a place opens up where you can sell out a venue, I’ll be the first in
DW: That’s the consensus.Everyone feels that Dustin has a lap and a half to weather the storm. If he can get through those lap and a half, McGregor starts to fuel up and Poirier, who is a dog, has a great cardio and has been in so many wars can start chasing it and possibly winning the fight I’m not sure if that’s the case Conor says, “My cardio has never been better, the workout I did with my strength- and graduated from a conditioning trainer I’m going to put on a masterpiece this weekend I’m going to finish this man in 60 seconds “So it’s all good. It’ll be interesting to see how this thing develops
How to Watch: Early Preliminary Rounds (3:15 pm, ESPN); Preliminary round (5 pm, ESPN / ESPN); Main map (7 pm, ESPN PPV)
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Conor McGregor versus Dustin Poirier
World news – USA – Dana White speaks about UFC 257: Conor McGregor versus Dustin Poirier