Yahoo Sports activities’ Kevin Iole interviews Dana White forward of Saturday’s UFC 279 at T-Cellular Enviornment in Las Vegas. The UFC president talks Nate Diaz’s rise within the UFC and why going through rising star Khamzat Chimaev in what is going to possible be the Stockton fighter’s remaining UFC battle is not a foregone conclusion regardless of the unbelievable odds he is going through.
KEVIN IOLE: What’s up, of us. I’m Kevin Iole. Sort of a bittersweet day immediately, Queen Elizabeth II has handed away as we file this. And we ship our greatest needs to all people affected by this. I’m joined now by Dana White. The excellent news is UFC 279 is simply a few days away.
Dana, simply earlier than we began recording, I discussed that the queen had handed. And also you mentioned that you just hadn’t met her however you had met somebody within the royal household.
DANA WHITE: Yeah, her husband. You understand, I used to work on the Boston Harbor Lodge. And there is a image on the web. I do not know the place the hell it got here from. I believe it got here from the resort, of me standing beside him when he arrived–
KEVIN IOLE: Prince Philip.
DANA WHITE: –at the resort. Yeah. And, yeah, now, what a life she lived, although. Unbelievable.
KEVIN IOLE: What a life you have lived, to satisfy these type of folks, proper? That is simply fairly superb. Nicely, let’s discuss UFC 279, the great things, Nate Diaz in what could also be his remaining battle headlining in opposition to Khamzat Chimaev, minus 1,200 for Chimaev as a favourite. Let’s begin there. Had been you stunned to see the quantity that was put up?
DANA WHITE: You see the numbers each Tuesday on the contender collection? I imply, I have been beating folks over the pinnacle for the previous few weeks. There’s like 6 to 1 favorites which might be shedding on the contender collection. There is no such thing as a 6 or 12 to 1 favourite in MMA, man. Something is feasible.
Julianna Pena simply confirmed it. Many, many different folks previously have proven it. Nate Diaz was an enormous underdog in opposition to Conor McGregor once they fought. The listing goes on and on. Nate Diaz is a veteran. He is been round for a very long time, fought all the most effective on the planet. And if this factor will get out of the second spherical, it is a very fascinating battle.
KEVIN IOLE: You understand, earlier than we get particularly into the battle. I wish to ask you this, as a result of that is one thing that I believe the UFC and your matchmakers deserve plenty of credit score for. And perhaps folks do not realize, however, you recognize, in the primary occasion, what has Diaz misplaced, three of his final 4. Within the co-main occasion you have received Tony Ferguson, who misplaced 4 in a row. Kevin Holland is on the cardboard. He had misplaced a pair earlier than profitable his final two.
And but these guys are remaining stars and remaining large names and having the ability to be on prime of the cardboard. What’s the secret to that, to maintain any person related whilst they’re shedding fights?
DANA WHITE: Nicely, the key is that they’re preventing all the most effective on the planet. It is not such as you misplaced to some random unknown man or some unranked man. I imply, you are preventing the likes of Jorge Masvidal. You understand, Dustin Poirier, Oliveira, Chandler. I imply, you recognize, they battle the most effective on the planet. We had been simply speaking about this the opposite day in a matchmaking assembly.
I am unable to bear in mind what her loss file is, however Michelle Waterson, you recognize, is in the identical place.
She’s misplaced like, I do not know, 5 of her final six or one thing like that. She’s ranked quantity 11.
She’s fought all the most effective ladies on the planet. So it is robust to– you recognize, once you’re preventing the very best, you recognize, and that is what folks wish to see. This weekend, initially, highest embedded collection of the yr this week. Our social media, all the things we put up is off the charts. We posted the business for Chimaez-Diaz. And it did two million views. The business, proper?
The gate, I advised you a couple of days in the past, the gate was going to hit 5 million. The gate’s at 5.5 million and it’ll be one other sellout. And the listing goes on and on. Folks wish to see a battle with two bad-ass dudes that wish to battle. And that is what you are getting on Saturday evening.
KEVIN IOLE: The expansion of Diaz is superb as a star. Like I used to be going again and a few of his outdated fights. And there was a few the place he received booed within the fights. Marcus Davis battle, I bear in mind, in Boston, the place the gang roundly booed Diaz a number of instances throughout that battle. And now as–
DANA WHITE: Nicely, Davis is from Boston.
KEVIN IOLE: I get it. From Maine, however, yeah, I get it. OK.
DANA WHITE: Yeah.
KEVIN IOLE: However I suppose what I used to be going to get at is now Nate’s nearly like this beloved determine, proper? And you recognize, he is turn into this big star that you would be able to, hey, what number of different guys have you ever had headlining fights, if anyone, in a non-title battle however Nate Diaz, proper? I imply, it is simply superb what he is turn into. The place do you think–
DANA WHITE: However on the time when he fought Diaz, he was residing and coaching in Boston.
KEVIN IOLE: Yeah.
DANA WHITE: Yeah.
KEVIN IOLE: However simply the expansion of Diaz, like into this star. What do you assume the trick was? Was it his perspective? Was it how he fought, who he fought? I believe like a part of it, you recognize, like, I consider the Benson Henderson factor, when he does the double chicken through the battle. Like he is preventing a troublesome man in the midst of the battle. And he flips it off to the gang.
I believe that, it was like kind of an interesting factor to lots of people. Like this man would not care about something. He will do what he desires to do when he desires to do it.
DANA WHITE: Yeah, I believe that is it. You understand, his complete anti-the firm, anti-everything, you recognize, willingness to battle anyone. The listing goes on and on. I imply, the Diaz brothers are so intriguing. I used to be speaking to this man yesterday, outdated man. He is received to be in his 70s.
And I discussed the battle this weekend. He is like, oh, yeah, I like the Diaz brothers. I could not even consider this man knew who the Diaz brothers had been.
However, yeah, I imply, all people loves him.
KEVIN IOLE: And it is simply superb. You understand, and the factor about Nate, I believe, you recognize, as you take a look at Khamzat preventing him, like Nate is a tough man to complete, proper? Nate is just not a man that’s getting completed. I imply, what number of instances has he been completed in his profession? Two by knockout and one by submission in–
DANA WHITE: However he is by no means actually been knocked out.
KEVIN IOLE: Proper, and stopped, you recognize, in 33 fights, proper? So–
DANA WHITE: Proper.
KEVIN IOLE: –a very low proportion of the time, he is getting completed. I imply, so the man is extremely robust. To me–
DANA WHITE: Extremely robust.
KEVIN IOLE: I wrote a column immediately, and I mentioned, is there strain constructing on Chimaev, as a result of usually, and I take into consideration that press convention with Gerald Meerschaert. And also you had been on the press convention. And he was trash speaking all people, not simply Meerschaert, however all people on the dais. He was loud.
Now yesterday he was talking in a whisper. He was not as outspoken. I am questioning, hey, is the strain of being the headliner of a UFC pay-per-view and preventing Nate Diaz in such a major battle beginning to put on on him?
DANA WHITE: Hear, if he did not really feel the strain in opposition to Gilbert Burns, I do not know if there’s strain for this one. I believe that what you have seen over time is Chimaev develop as a fighter. I imply, after we noticed him on Combat Island, no person knew who the hell he was.
KEVIN IOLE: Proper.
DANA WHITE: He got here out of nowhere. I imply, the man has blown up. He is extremely well-known now. You understand, and I extremely doubt he is feeling any un-normal kind of strain that any of those youngsters really feel once they go in, you recognize, on a weekend like this. And Diaz, the entire narrative behind Diaz is he is received nothing to lose. However that is not true. That is not true on this sport.
KEVIN IOLE: How is that not true? You bought, and in his remaining battle he has nothing to lose?
DANA WHITE: Nicely, as a result of all of us have one thing to lose once you’re on this sport, you recognize what I imply? It is one on one in entrance of the entire world. There’s nothing prefer it. And shedding isn’t good on this sport. You wish to win.
And clearly there’s much more upside for Nate in lots of, some ways, and for Khamzat and all people else this weekend when you win.
KEVIN IOLE: Yeah, there is no doubt about that. Make clear one thing. So Nate, you recognize, he had an awesome interview with ESPN, Brett Okamoto did, I assumed, a superb job interviewing him the opposite day. One of many issues he mentioned, although, type of caught out to me. He mentioned the UFC pushed me to take this battle. They’re attempting to behave like I needed this battle.
And I didn’t need the battle, by no means, form, or type. Now, I believe I advised you this earlier than, however Zach Rosenfield, his supervisor, mentioned to me, when the battle was made, that is necessary to notice, he mentioned. We weren’t provided this battle. We requested for this battle. So what’s the reality? Did the Diaz aspect ask for the battle, or did you provide the battle to them first?
DANA WHITE: We provided them a number of fights. We provided them a number of fights. Everyone stored saying, how come the Diaz battle, blah-blah-blah. How would you like me to reply? I believe we talked about this earlier than.
KEVIN IOLE: Yeah.
DANA WHITE: For me to say, you recognize, hear, his supervisor advised you what the deal was. For me to say something about what the Diaz brothers are pondering, or what was this or what was that, he needed a battle. He needed to battle Francis.
KEVIN IOLE: Yeah, that. Yeah.
DANA WHITE: It is all a part of the method, once you take care of the Diaz brothers, and different guys right here, too, you recognize what I imply? What issues is the battle’s occurring this weekend. It is a large deal. And that is it. That is all I care about.
KEVIN IOLE: You’ve plenty of your ex-fighters now going into promotion. In fact, Khabib has had a profitable promotion. And his firm appears to be doing good. And Nate says he is entering into promotion. He advised me it was going to be jujitsu fights, boxing matches, MMA, type of a combination of all of the martial arts entering into.
What do you assume goes to be the most important factor that surprises him as he will get, if the truth is this will get off the bottom and he will get into this?
DANA WHITE: That it is not as straightforward because it seems. And, you recognize, once you would present up on the UFC occasions, you notice how easy all the things ran and the way professionally it is run, and the way exhausting it’s to drag that off.
KEVIN IOLE: Has Khabib made any comments–
DANA WHITE: And might’t wait until he begins coping with fighters, if he will be the man that is really going to take care of them.
KEVIN IOLE: I’ve a sense that he will simply look to let any person else try this and present up on the fights and benefit from the fights. That is my guess.
DANA WHITE: I am with you.
KEVIN IOLE: Has Khabib made any remark about that to you, by the way in which? Like has he come again and mentioned, Dana, I didn’t perceive how a lot went on that I wasn’t conscious of?
DANA WHITE: Nicely, he and I actually have not had the chance to take a seat down and discuss that but. However I promise you he’ll, after we do speak.
KEVIN IOLE: OK, all proper. Nicely, let’s transfer on. The Tony Ferguson battle, to me, is an interesting battle, you recognize. And like Ferguson’s been one of many OGs of this sport and placed on some unbelievable fights. However as I discussed earlier than, he has a collection of losses.
You are placing him perhaps down a notch by way of opposition, in my thoughts, in Li Jingliang, you recognize. Not fairly as harmful because the Justin Gaethjes, and guys like that, proper? You understand, I am not dogging Jingliang, saying I simply do not assume he is fairly as harmful as say a Justin Gaethje or Charles Oliveira, proper?
DANA WHITE: Nicely, he is up a weight class. He is up a weight class. And you are still speaking a couple of man that is ranked within the prime 15.
KEVIN IOLE: So my query to begin is, like, what do you assume the strain is on Tony Ferguson, as a result of now he is getting an opportunity, nearly like a reset. You moved divisions, you are not preventing a man that is a prime 5 contender like what he is been preventing earlier than, you recognize. You are getting somewhat little bit of a break, comparatively talking, proper? So there’s plenty of strain on Ferguson on this battle, do not you consider?
DANA WHITE: No, I disagree. I really assume that transferring up a weight class on this sport is a really, very large deal. And Li may be very [MUTED] thrilling and really gifted, and really well-rounded. I really assume that this battle goes to be an absolute knockdown, drag them out conflict. And it’ll be enjoyable.
KEVIN IOLE: Yeah. And then you definately go–
DANA WHITE: And once more, I do not know if Tony or Li are feeling any extra strain than they usually do on any regular battle weekend.
KEVIN IOLE: So if Tony, let’s simply say for the sake of argument, Tony loses the battle, and he is received 5 in a row. Do you might have any hesitation about if he desires to proceed to battle? You understand, I do know you get a degree with Chuck Liddell and Donald Cerrone and sure fighters that you’ve got that dialog with. Is Tony at that time, or is he in that dialog?
DANA WHITE: I might must see the battle first. It is like saying, you recognize, he simply misplaced his final battle. Are you fascinated by no matter? He appeared unbelievable in that battle, proper up till he received knocked out. He received hit with a kick that anyone within the sport might get hit with.
KEVIN IOLE: Appropriate.
DANA WHITE: And he appeared unbelievable proper up till that time.
KEVIN IOLE: The final battle I consider you placed on this card, I consider it was the final one, or the subsequent to final one, was one which I believe is admittedly type of a sleeper battle on this card, Kevin Holland in opposition to Daniel Rodriguez.
DANA WHITE: I agree.
KEVIN IOLE: That was one you placed on late. And I believe there’s plenty of good storylines about each of them. However let’s discuss D-Rod for a second first. For individuals who haven’t seen Daniel Rodriguez battle, what can they anticipate out of him? What sort of fighter is he?
DANA WHITE: Yeah, no, hear, each of those guys are thrilling, dynamic. Each go in there for the end. I simply noticed an interview with Rodriguez. And the opposite factor, too, stepping in, quick discover, catchweight battle. I do not know. It is fascinating.
However for all of the folks on the market, if you do not know Kevin Holland or you do not know Daniel Rodriguez, consider me after I inform you, of us, you might be in for an unbelievable battle. Daniel’s like 16 and a pair of. And what fascinated me essentially the most was watching the interview that he simply did, the boldness that he has going into this battle. And he is pumped for this battle. And he is aware of that taking out any person like Kevin Holland is a game-changer for him.
So this card is superior. I imply, this card is superior. That is going to be a enjoyable evening on Saturday.
KEVIN IOLE: The rationale I just like the Rodriguez/Holland battle is as a result of, you recognize, Holland dropped again down after he had the good yr with the 5 wins. He was preventing at 85, dropped again right down to 170. And he is had back-to-back wins now, Alex Oliveira and Tim Means, and I assumed appeared nice within the Tim Means battle, proper? I assumed he was improbable in that battle.
And he seems just like the man that perhaps we thought when he received the 5 fights within the one yr, and that individuals had been saying, hey, perhaps he will be a giant star on this sport. Do you– you recognize, he did the other of what Tony Ferguson is doing. Tony Ferguson goes up. He went down. That, to me, appears a really smart move by Kevin Holland.
DANA WHITE: Proper, and in addition robust to do. However the one factor, what we noticed from Kevin Holland was he had a giant gap in his recreation, his wrestling.
KEVIN IOLE: Proper.
DANA WHITE: He wanted to take a while off, actually deal with his wrestling. He is performed that and be fascinating to see what occurs with him now and within the close to future. However this child is all motion, all pleasure, takes dangers, is not afraid to get himself into dangerous positions, which is a part of the explanation he is so enjoyable to observe.
KEVIN IOLE: Yeah, I imply, you recognize, he is a man that I believe– would you agree, like, as a result of he stepped in on quick discover on a few fights and received them that one yr when he received the 5 in a row, that perhaps, you recognize, the hype received somewhat too excessive on him, and he wasn’t a completed product but, and now we’re beginning to see perhaps what the completed product actually is?
DANA WHITE: Nicely, I believe you do not know that that large of a gap is in your recreation till you begin climbing up the ladder and going through the most effective on the planet. You understand, when you begin preventing a few of these guys which might be the most effective on the planet, begin realizing, you recognize, the place there is likely to be some holes in your recreation. However this child is extremely gifted. Now he is extra effectively rounded than he was.
Let’s not overlook, he knocked out Jacare from the underside, which is insane, you recognize.
KEVIN IOLE: And that was the most effective finishes of the yr. Yeah, that was super.
DANA WHITE: 100%. This battle goes to be an absolute conflict.
KEVIN IOLE: Yeah, I like that one. Hey, let’s, I received a pair extra minutes with you, simply go over a pair different issues. Ciryl Gane’s efficiency. Yeah, I did not hear you discuss that publicly. I assumed that was an unbelievable battle. I texted you proper after the battle ended. However I simply needed you to share your ideas with the general public on the Gane-Tuivas battle, and perhaps the place you go together with Ciryl after that nice win.
DANA WHITE: Yeah, he appeared unbelievable. The one factor that we discovered, hear, we at all times do, Ciryl was very tactical, strikes like a middleweight, you recognize, all of the issues that we already learn about him. We discovered about his chin and his coronary heart on Saturday evening, man. He took some large pictures, ate them, received harm as soon as, received again up on his toes, and dealt with his enterprise, man. That battle was unbelievable, particularly for 2 heavyweights, man.
It was superior. So, yeah, I believe popping out of that battle, that is the factor that we realized. We already knew plenty of issues about Ciryl so far as expertise and all the things else. However chin and coronary heart is what we discovered on Saturday.
KEVIN IOLE: You understand, Dana, I’ve lined fights in boxing and MMA, for kickboxing, for a very long time. And the one factor you do not see that Ciryl did on Saturday was he received badly harm and received dropped. He pops up and instantly was the aggressor, proper? There was no clear my head for a couple of seconds, transfer round.
He instantly threw the kick at Tai and went after him. And to me, I imply, that mentioned rather a lot simply in that one sequence, what he did.
DANA WHITE: 100%. You understand, getting dropped like that, did not make him gun-shy. Did not make him veer from his recreation plan. You understand, he stayed aggressive and stored doing what he was doing, and ultimately received the battle. I imply, the kicks to the physique had been unbelievable.
KEVIN IOLE: Oh, yeah, that’s robust. Siks, so he is out a number of months with a damaged hand? So the place does that go away you along with your heavy-weight division, Francis. I talked to Eric Nicksick the opposite day. Eric Nicksick says Francis might be higher to battle in early 2023. So the place does that go away the heavyweight division proper now? Is something going to occur?
DANA WHITE: We’re rolling into the tip of the yr right here. Let some guys heal up and we’re not in a foul spot. All the pieces’s good, you recognize. Hear, accidents are going to occur. These kind of issues are a part of the game. And we’ll work via it.
KEVIN IOLE: What are the percentages that we see Jones-Miocic for an interim title bout in December, say?
DANA WHITE: I do not know.
KEVIN IOLE: Have you ever guys talked about that?
DANA WHITE: No.
KEVIN IOLE: Is that I will battle that’s–
DANA WHITE: Yeah, we have been speaking about plenty of issues. However speaking and getting it performed are two various things.
KEVIN IOLE: Proper, and what’s– fill me in on Stipe, proper, as a result of he is at all times type of a– you recognize, all people talks about Jon. What’s Jon going to do, proper? Stipe hasn’t fought since he misplaced to Francis, type of nearly fell off the face of the earth. It has been, what, 16 months I believe since we have seen him.
What’s going on with him? Why hasn’t he fought subsequently?
DANA WHITE: Nicely, when you take a look at what Stipe has completed in his profession, and he is the quantity two man on the planet, plus he is received a job, you recognize, that he loves, in his hometown. You understand, he is a fireman. And the man’s made some huge cash. He is received an excellent life. He simply had some youngsters.
He is doing his factor, you recognize. He is at that time in his profession the place he is like deliver me one thing large and I will soar again within the gymnasium and be just right for you. You understand, he is most likely a few fights from retiring. So, yeah.
KEVIN IOLE: It simply strikes me, and perhaps I am fallacious on this, however Jon Jones is one thing large, proper? In the event you provided him Jon Jones, I imply, come on.
DANA WHITE: 100%.
KEVIN IOLE: In order that simply makes me–
DANA WHITE: I like how straightforward you guys take this, as at all times. Oh, effectively, just like the Jon Jones battle. Get that [MUTED] performed.
KEVIN IOLE: I did not say it is easy. I used to be asking a query.
DANA WHITE: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, belief me. When it is time for me to make Jon Jones versus Stipe, Jon Jones versus Francis, Jon Jones versus anyone, no person might be [MUTED] happier or extra excited to announce it, let you recognize it is occurring, than me.
KEVIN IOLE: Hey, one or two different questions. You understand, Jon might be on a really lengthy layoff, proper? And I do know you might have mentioned repeatedly that you are a believer in ring rust.
DANA WHITE: Massive believer.
KEVIN IOLE: And I have been fascinated by that. And like take a look at Nate Diaz, proper? Three years off, bingo, he is available in, beats Anthony Pettis, will get on this late resurgence that he is on in his late profession. So to me, I believe, you recognize, if I say, hey, who’s the higher athlete, who’s the higher fighter, Nate Diaz or Jon Jones, after all, it is received to be Jon Jones.
So if Nate Diaz can overcome that prolonged layoff, would you agree that Jon Jones would have the ability to deal with that higher than most different folks?
DANA WHITE: I believe Jon Jones handles plenty of issues higher than most individuals. Jon Jones is an absolute freak of nature.
KEVIN IOLE: Proper.
DANA WHITE: He is actually a genetic freak. So, yeah, probably.
KEVIN IOLE: Yeah, little question. All proper, we are going to finish it proper there. Dana, I admire your time as at all times. UFC 279 on Saturday at T-Cellular Enviornment. You mentioned the gate is at 5.5 million. Are we going to get to love 20,000 on Tennis? What are you there?
DANA WHITE: Yeah, no, it’ll be a sellout. It will be one other sellout, it is like our twenty fourth or twenty fifth straight sellout. Yeah, thrilling.
KEVIN IOLE: Going to be enjoyable.
DANA WHITE: Going to be rocking on Saturday evening.
KEVIN IOLE: Rocking at T-Cellular. Nicely, I might be there ringside. I’ll goodbye immediately on the press convention. Dana, thanks a lot.
DANA WHITE: Have an excellent day, buddy.