The UFC president discusses what makes 27-year-old Conor McGregor, who in December knocked out José Aldo in 13 seconds to claim the featherweight title, such a big star.
MAGGIE GRAY:How valuable is Conor McGregor to UFC?
DANA WHITE: Conor is a special individual. He's a guy who is making an impact on MMA in a completely different way than Ronda [Rousey] did. Obviously, coming from Ireland, he's created a lot of steam in Europe but also in Australia and other parts of the world, including here in the United States.
MG:McGregor recently posted a photo on Instagram that showed him wearing a mask and pointing a submachine gun outside the window of a car.
DW: It wasn't a real gun; it was a fake gun. Obviously not a great choice of pictures to post on Instagram, of course, but, hey, at least it wasn't a real gun and he was just doing it for a movie.
MG:José Aldo recently said, "I think they [UFC] gave him [McGregor] too much power. They let him grow a lot, and he's playing now, calling the shots more than the others." Is there any truth to that? Does he have more power than other fighters?
DW: Conor is who Conor is. If Conor acted like everybody else, he wouldn't be Conor. Every once in a while a special individual pops up in this sport. That's Conor. The first night I ever went to dinner with Conor McGregor, I called my business partner Lorenzo [Fertitta] and said, "I don't know how well this guy can fight, but if this guy can even throw a punch, he's going to be a huge superstar." He is a unique individual.
For more of White's interview, plus the SI Now archives, go to SI.com/sinow
"If this guy can even throw a punch, he's going to be a huge superstar."
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JEFF BOTTARI/ZUFFA LLC/GETTY IMAGES (WHITE)
BRANDON MAGNUS/ZUFFA LLC/GETTY IMAGES (MCGREGOR)
MIKE STOBE/GETTY IMAGES (WILDER)
PAUL SPINELLI/AP (STEELERS)
RIC TAPIA/AP (CONCUSSIONS)
ANNA STOLZENBERG/BUFFALO BILLS/AP (SMITH)