The UFC is approaching a major milestone in its history: the 30th anniversary of its first event, which took place on November 12, 1993. Since then, the promotion has grown from a controversial spectacle to a global phenomenon, with millions of fans and hundreds of events across the world.
The man who has been leading the UFC for almost 23 years is Dana White, the president and face of the organization. White took over the UFC in 2001, when it was on the verge of bankruptcy, and turned it into a multi-billion dollar empire. He has overseen some of the most memorable moments and fights in the sport, as well as some of the biggest challenges and controversies.
White recently spoke to TNT Sports’ Adam Catterall ahead of UFC London, which takes place on July 23 at the O2 Arena. He shared his thoughts on his favorite memories, his vision for the future, and his excitement for the upcoming events.
The best moments
White said that there are too many great moments to count, but he highlighted some of the most significant ones that shaped the UFC’s history.
“Obviously buying the company, and then, you know, trying to get it back on pay-per-view. Getting our first television deal on Spike. Then getting FOX. Then ESPN,” White said.
He also mentioned some of the landmark events that marked the UFC’s expansion and popularity in different markets.
“Doing the big arenas,” White said “Doing Madison Square Garden for the first time. Doing the O2 [Arena] for the first time. Going into these different countries. It’s just been so many incredible moments.”
The future plans
White said that he is always looking forward to the next big thing, and that he has some ambitious plans for the future of the UFC.
One of them is UFC 300, which is expected to take place in April 2024. White said that he has some ideas for the card, but he did not reveal any details.
“I have some things in mind for UFC 300, but we’ll see how it plays out,” White said. “A lot of things depend on what happens in the next few months.”
White also said that he is not planning to slow down anytime soon, and that he wants to keep growing the sport and reaching new fans.
“We’re not stopping,” White said. “We’re going to keep going to new places, putting on great fights, and making this sport bigger and better.”
The upcoming events
White said that he is very excited for the end-of-year schedule, which he believes is one of the best in company history.
The highlight of the schedule is UFC 295, which will feature a heavyweight title fight between Jon Jones and Stipe Miocic. Jones is widely regarded as one of the best fighters of all time, while Miocic is the most successful heavyweight champion in UFC history. The fight has been highly anticipated by fans and media alike.
“That fight is huge,” White said. “It’s one of those fights that you dream of as a fan and as a promoter. It’s going to be epic.”
Before UFC 295, there are several other events that will showcase some of the best talent and matchups in MMA.
One of them is UFC London, which will be headlined by Tom Aspinall and Marcin Tybura. Aspinall is a rising star in the heavyweight division, with four straight wins by knockout or submission. Tybura is a veteran who has won five consecutive fights, including four by decision.
“It’s a great main event,” White said. “Aspinall is a beast, and Tybura is tough as nails. It’s going to be a war.”
Another event that White is looking forward to is UFC 291, which will feature a lightweight clash between Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje. Poirier is coming off two wins over Conor McGregor, while Gaethje is looking to bounce back from a loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov.
“That fight is insane,” White said. “Poirier and Gaethje are two of the most exciting fighters in the world. They always bring it. It’s going to be a fight of the year candidate.”
White also mentioned some of the other events that will take place in August, such as UFC Nashville, UFC Boston and UFC Singapore.
“We have so many great fights coming up,” White said. “I can’t wait for them all.”