Dana White believes Conor McGregor is the first truly international superstar in UFC history, and that’s what sets him apart from other stars like Georges St-Pierre, Anderson Silva, and Ronda Rousey.
White compared McGregor’s celebrity to that of other big UFC stars on Eddie Hearn’s Talk the Talk podcast. He believes that, while stars like GSP, Rousey and Silva opened up new markets, McGregor brought the UFC to the whole world.
“The way that it works in the UFC, these guys that become these big stars become partners,” White said (transcript via The Mac Life). “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…
“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.”
McGregor has not fought since January, when he returned from a lengthy hiatus to battle Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone. The Irish star won his fight with Cerrone by first-round TKO. It took him just 40 seconds to seal the deal with a series of shoulder strikes, a head kick, and a volley of ground strikes.
Prior to his win over Cerrone, McGregor had not tasted victory since all the way back in November of 2016, when he knocked out Eddie Alvarez to become a two-division UFC champion. After his win over Alvarez, he came up short in a blockbuster boxing match with undefeated legend Floyd Mayweather Jr. in 2017, then tapped out to undefeated UFC lightweight champ Khabib Nurmagomedov in 2018.
At present, Conor McGregor is awaiting his next challenge in the Octagon.