Dana White appeared on ESPN 2's First Take this morning, sitting down with ESPN Argument Format specialists Stephen A Smith and Skip Bayless. Obviously, ahead of UFC 172, a preview of the event was the focus of the appearance.
Jon Jones meets Glover Teixeira in the main event. Immediately the discussion turned to Teixeira's recent quote about knowing he'd be the underdog. White called the 5-to-1 underdog status "crazy" before going through the "in great shape" and "dangerous" shtick.
Smith then asked White where Jones ranks all-time as a UFC champion and Dana said that after a "rocky period with him" he now could become the best champion in UFC history if he keeps his head together.
When asked about the UFC's popularity "slightly overtaking boxing" according to Sports Business Journal last year, White said, "When we do fights...we're number one on all of television all the key male demos" White continued, "with women like Ronda Rousey, she's become a huge superstar, now we're starting to bring the women in. One thing I noticed is that when we go to Brazil, Brazilians like to see Brazilians do well, the Brits like to see the Brits do well and the women like to see the women do well."
Smith began to praise the UFC for "giving fans the fights they want to see when they want to see them," and the conversation moved to Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao (as this is pretty much the only thing that Smith and Bayless can ever discuss when talking boxing). White said that they do the best they can before saying, "the Mayweather/Pacquiao thing is the craziest thing, it's another reason why boxing is getting murdered."
White then sort of defended boxing by saying that people have attempted to claim it was boxing's "last hurrah" for years and years before comparing the sport to horse racing in that the big events only happen a few times a year, but draw widespread attention. White explained, "I was just having this conversation with Kevin Iole. And Kevin Iole was just telling me that the numbers are still trickling in...Floyd's fight with Canelo looks like it's going to do over 2.5 million pay-per-view buys. That is unbelievable!"