Throughout the course of 2017, fight fans have continued to anxiously await news regarding a potential showdown between UFC superstar Conor McGregor & undefeated Boxing icon Floyd Mayweather.
While reports had begun to emerge that led fans to believe the chances of a fight happening were rather slim, the UFC champion recently stated during a surprise appearance at the Madison Square Garden that a fight was “very close” to being finalized. The statement from McGregor was a relief for fight fans, given that it followed a statement from boxing promoter Bob Arum just weeks before, in which he stated that the UFC was proving to be the biggest obstacle in finalizing the fight.
This week, during an appearance on The Herd, UFC President Dana white explained why he feels as though he has an obligation to make the fight between McGregor & Mayweather:
“This kid steps up. He’ll fight anybody, anywhere, anytime. A lot of people say it, very few really mean it. Conor McGregor, I call him the unicorn. I’ve never dealt with a kid like this,” White explained when speaking to “The Herd” on Wednesday.
“So for him to have this kind of opportunity, to make this kind of money, this type of a fight that people are so interested in worldwide, I almost feel like I have to make it.”
“It’s a fight that people do want to see. It’s intriguing and obviously it’s a fight that Conor wants because financially it’s going to be massive for him,” White said. “McGregor, he’s a guy that I have a lot of respect for.
“This guy has stepped up at times when people were at his level would never step up. I’ve said this a million times and I’ll say it again — I’m the guy standing in the living room, I’m the guy on the phone when these guys are looking down the barrel of a new opponent a week before the fight and Conor McGregor doesn’t flinch.”
White of course is likely referring to the two situations in which his opponent backed out of a title fight on short notice. The first situation of course was in 2015, when McGregor was set to face Jose Aldo for the interim featherweight title at UFC 189. When Aldo withdrew from the fight, Chad Mendes stepped in on short notice to fight McGregor for the interim belt. In the second incident, UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos withdrew from his scheduled UFC 196 scrap with McGregor just two weeks before the event, resulting in the UFC selecting Nate Diaz as a fill-in opponent for McGregor.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 4/5/2017.