The UFC president made a passionate rant on why one should grab an opportunity when it presents itself, and extolled the virtues of Conor McGregor in doing so.
While appearing on UFC Unfiltered, Dana White was asked if Jose Aldo made a mistake in declining the Conor McGregor rematch at UFC 196 when Rafael Dos Anjos pulled out due to injury. Nate Diaz eventually accepted the fight, and went on to earn both the biggest win and payday of his career.
White hesitated to criticise the reportedly then-injured Aldo for refusing to avenge his UFC 194 loss to the Irishman, but he emphasised that fighters should step up when asked, highlighting the example of Michael Bisping.
Bisping, of course, prevailed at UFC 199 against then-middleweight champion Luke Rockhold, having fought on just a few weeks notice.
“He fucking took it and he won, take the opportunity when it’s available.” – Dana White on Michael Bisping
Late withdrawals also place a heavy burden on the opposing fighter. Conor McGregor knows that only too well, with six opponent changes in his last twelve fights alone. Electing to face Chad Mendes at UFC 189 on 10 days notice was commendable enough, but White waxed lyrical about McGregor’s latest fight acceptance at UFC 196.
“Conor McGregor doesn’t give a shit,” White told Matt Serra and Jim Norton.
“I’ve been doing this for 16 years – I know who says yes, who says no, and Conor says no to nothing.”
We all remember the claims that when McGregor found out he would be fighting Mendes, he merely acknowledged it and went back to sleep.
“The ship was sailing smoothly. My coach came into my room at 1pm, I was sleeping, and he told me that Mendes was replacing Aldo. I opened one eye, said “it makes no difference” then went back to sleep.” – McGregor last July
Judging by Dana’s insight here though, it wasn’t just a marketing gimmick.
“People say I kiss his ass and do all this other stuff for him, but I fucking respect the guy, who when you walk into his living room, he’s just waking up, eleven days before his fight, and he’s been training for a certain weight and certain opponent.”
“I said: ‘These are the three options’. He says: ‘I’m going to train, let me know which one takes it’.
I’ve dealt with very few men and women who say that.”
The conversation can be heard below from 42:50 via UFC.com.