Dana White says Ronda Rousey still the biggest star in UFC history
Former women's champion Ronda Rousey hasn't competed since last November, but her name still carries the most weight when it comes to superstars in the UFC.
That's according to UFC president Dana White, who was asked about Rousey this week while promoting the upcoming UFC 205 card in New York City.
Despite Rousey being absent from the Octagon for the better part of a year and coming off a loss in her last fight, White told Hot 97 in New York that she still demands an audience bigger than any other fighter in UFC history.
Now White's proclamation about Rousey isn't exactly new.
The UFC president has said the same thing about Rousey in the past after she drew in a huge amount of attention for her last three fights with Cat Zingano, Bethe Correia and Holly Holm.
Of course, Conor McGregor might have a thing or two to say about who is the biggest superstar after his pair of fights with Nate Diaz earlier this year both shattered one million pay-per-view buys.
There have been rumors that McGregor's rematch with Diaz at UFC 202 in August actually broke the all time record for pay-per-view buys for the company, surpassing UFC 100 in 2009. The UFC doesn't publicly release pay-per-view numbers so for that that will remain speculation, but McGregor has definitely become the biggest draw based on the money he commands at the box office and on pay-per-view.
Part of White's reasoning behind saying Rousey is the biggest superstar of all time stems from her fight against Bethe Correia in 2015 when she received a raucous reception from the home crowd despite facing a native Brazilian.
“Ronda Rousey is such a big star that when you go down to Brazil, I don't know if you guys have watched any of the fights we do from Brazil — they don't care who you are. They want the Brazilian to whoop your ass. When Ronda went down there, they cheered for Ronda over the Brazilian,” White said. “Never seen that before in my life and will probably never see it again. That's how big Ronda Rousey is.”
The metric for star power isn't exactly measurable outside of what a fighter draws on pay-per-view, television ratings and at the box office and by those numbers, McGregor has managed to trump Rousey over the past year.
There's a chance that trend will shift slightly back in Rousey's favor if she returns at UFC 207 in December as currently rumored after she was offered a fight with women's bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes on the Dec. 30 card.
As of now, Rousey has made no public statement regarding her return to action or whether she will face Nunes in December. Meanwhile, McGregor is likely going to close out his year with another monster show when he faces lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez in the main event for the first ever UFC card held at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 12.
By far. Not even close, by far the biggest star ever.
— Dana White