One thing is for sure UFC president Dana White has all the utmost respect for Conor McGregor and reveals that the feisty Irishman is the “real deal” in the mixed martial arts business.
In an interview with mmafighting, White said that when they made the call to McGregor and telling him about Rafael dos Anjos backing out, and at first the Irish fighter aired his frustrations then told the UFC honcho that he would fight anybody.
“I have been in the fight business for a long time and you don’t pick up the phone and have conversations anymore with guys like Conor McGregor…he’s moving from 155 to 170 lbs. and he keeps this fun. When we called him and told him of what going on, at first he was like ‘you gotta be kidding me.’ And then he says, ‘I’m getting to the gym right now, I’ll fight anybody,’” White said.
He added that McGregor was ready to fight anybody without any preference and reminds him of Chuck Liddell, who just wants to fight. And stress that fighters today that are given the opportunity to fight and turns them down.
“Conor McGergor just said to me ‘you pick the fight and I’ll fight anybody. Let me know whom I fighting and I’ll call you back.’ This guy is the real deal. Now, we call guys who are going to make millions of dollars and they don’t want to fight,” White explained.
He also defended the choice of having Nate Diaz as the replacement to Rafael dos Anjos, who pulled out of the fight against McGregor due to a foot injury. White stated that they lined up all the fights for the year and admitted that the first in their list were Jose Aldo and Frankie Edgar to take the fight at 155 lbs.
“Then I started getting call from BJ Penn, Pettis, Urijah Faber was also in the running too. Uriah and I talk more than the other fighters and that one was really close too. And then talking to Nate was always interesting and we were going back and forth, and we felt Nate Diaz was the fight to make. It was the fight the fans wanted to see,” White added.
On the other hand, White slammed Frankie Edgar for not taking the fight against McGregor. He said that he called Edgar and offered him the fight and Edgar turned it down.
“I sent him a text and said ‘What are you mad about? What are you screaming about? I called you and offered you the fight. You could not take the fight.’ Whether you’re hurt or not, it does not matter you (Edgar) were offered the fight and you turned it down,” White stressed.
He further stated that the UFC is a business of opportunity and when opportunity pops up, unfortunately some people take it and some people don’t. And adds that whatever the deal is they must not get mad at him for receiving the call and could not take the fight.
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