While Conor McGregor stated at the UFC 205 press conference earlier this week that he believes he is the reason for the UFC’s $4.2 billion value, UFC President Dana White seems to think that former UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey is a bigger star.
While Rousey has been absent from the Octagon for nearly a year following her horrific KO loss at the hands of Holly Holm at UFC 193, reports have begun to surface which state that Rousey will return by the end of 2016. In addition, Rousey’s coach, Edmond Tarverdyan, has stated that Rousey could very well return by the end of the year if negotiations with the UFC brass go well.
UFC President Dana White recently appeared on Hot 97 in New York ahead of the UFC’s inaugural event at the Madison Square Garden, UFC 205, which will be headlined by a lightweight showdown between Conor McGregor and UFC lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez.
During his appearance on the show, White was asked if Rousey was a bigger star than McGregor:
“By far. Not even close. By far the biggest star. Ronda Rousey is such a big star. When you go down to Brazil, they don’t care who you are. They want the Brazilian to whup your ass. When Ronda went down there, they cheered for Ronda over the Brazilian. Never seen that before in my life, and will probably never see it again. That’s how big Ronda Rousey is.”
White’s statements may come as a shock given that McGregor’s last two fights, both of which were against Nate Diaz, set UFC records. McGregor’s UFC 196 showdown with Nate Diaz came in as the second biggest event in UFC history, while McGregor vs. Diaz II in August at UFC 202 came in as the third biggest event in UFC history.
The only event to do more pay-per view buys than the above-mentioned two is UFC 100, which was headlined by a heavyweight title fight between Brock Lesnar & Frank Mir.