UFC president Dana White says that while Ronda Rousey is still the highest paid and biggest star in the sport, Conor McGregor is fast catching up to her.
Rousey suffered a huge upset defeat to Holly Holm in November, but according to White, it hasn’t really hurt her star power.
“Ronda means a lot to the UFC and to this sport,” he told Yahoo! Sports.
“As in everything. Everything this woman does. She’s an unbelievable athlete, personality, friend, partner, you name it. Ronda Rousey is amazing.”
In contrast to Rousey’s recent struggles, McGregor has been going from strength to strength, most recently knocking out Jose Aldo to become the undisputed featherweight champion. He’s also going in hunt of the lightweight belt on March 5.
McGregor’s star is certainly on the rise, but as far as White is concerned, he still hasn’t knocked Rousey off the top spot.
“Uh, yeah. You know… I think Ronda Rousey is the biggest star in the UFC,” White said. “But let me tell you what, Conor McGregor is nipping at her heels.”
White also told Sports Illustrated that Rousey remains the highest paid fighter in UFC.
“It would still be true,” White said. “Yes. Without a doubt. Holly Holm is now facing Miesha Tate, which is a very dangerous fight, but if the Holly Holm-Ronda Rousey rematch happens I think it’s the biggest fight in UFC history.”
While there’s no set date on Rousey’s return, White insists it will be sometime this year.
“She’ll fight in 2016,” said White. “100 percent. That’s all we’ve got. Obviously we were looking for her to fight at UFC 200, but that’s not going to happen. After 200 happens we’ll look and see what went on, what she’s got going on. If there’s any human being that deserves some time off it’s Ronda Rousey.”