Dana White with Conor McGregor. (Via Reuters)
Dana White with Conor McGregor. (Via Reuters)

If we can find one of the baddest dudes in the world and he is Indian: UFC boss Dana White has set his eyes on India

  • Several big companies are looking at India as a big market for their sports. Football clubs from Europe are signing deals with Indian clubs, professional wrestling giants WWE have made special plans for the country, and now UFC is also looking to go big with India.
By YASH BHATI
UPDATED ON JAN 28, 2021 03:24 PM IST

Dana White has masterminded the growth of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) in the last 9-10 years. At the beginning it was mostly restricted to the United States of America, then it grew in countries like Brazil, England, Russia, and Australia. UFC is fast growing in popularity in several Asian countries with the United Arab Emirates becoming a hub of the fighting game in 2020.

The foothold of MMA and UFC can be seen in most of the countries. Several UFC champions are emerging from nations like New Zealand, Australia, Russia, Nigeria, etc. This has also led to the increase in popularity of the sport in those countries. The rise of Conor McGregor has seen MMA become a household sport in European countries.

So what is that one place Dana White is targeting for the sport? Zubin Mehenti of ESPN asked White (after 4:53 mins) about the one place, country, or venue that MMA is yet to conquer that Dana would like to bring the UFC to. The answer was straight forward. It is India that the UFC president wants a big fighter from.

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White explained that India has one of the biggest populations in the world and if a champion emerges from the country, then it would be huge for the sport.

“Look at what we have done in building up places like Australia, Europe, Canada, Brazil and the list goes on and on. One of the places with one of the biggest populations in the world is India. Conor McGregor is from Ireland. You know why is so popular. We know he is charismatic and can fight well. If you leave that stuff aside, one of the reasons is he is Irish. Now everyone on the planet thinks they are Irish man.”


“If you take India which has a massive population. If we can find somebody who is one of the baddest dudes in the world and he is Indian. Then the whole segment of that population will follow him and that will be massive.

"If an Indian guy comes out, doesn’t matter what weight class and he is looked at as the baddest dude in the world, you will follow this guy. Your friends will, your family will. You guys will buy his PPVs and his merchandise and all of that. Am I wrong?” White concluded.

Several big companies are looking at India as a big market for their sports. Football clubs from Europe are signing deals with Indian clubs, professional wrestling giants WWE have made special plans for India, NBA is looking to unearth a superstar from the country and now UFC is also looking to go big with India.

There is a big fan base especially for MMA in India and it is growing rapidly. Viewerships are always going to rise in the country and fans will always support the sport. Ritu Phogat is making waves in ONE Championship and is gaining popularity. But can UFC find a fighter from India who could go on to become a household name and a champion? It remains to be seen. However, if someone can make it possible, it is Dana White.

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