Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter Conor McGregor's popularity is huge. The Irishman is undoubtedly the biggest draw in the sport today as he continues to pull in crowds at Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). However, according to Dana White, the president of UFC, the biggest superstar in the sport's history is not McGregor but the former bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey.
The news might surprise MMA enthusiasts, who would point out to the successful 2016 that UFC have had on the back of McGregor. Rousey hasn't been present at all in 2016, which is one of the biggest years in the company's history. That the firm made such profits is down to the Irishman, whose two fights with American Nate Diaz drew over a million pay-per-view buys each.
Compared to McGregor, Rousey has only cleared the million mark twice with her fights against Holly Holm and Miesha Tate garnering million pay-per-view sales. However, it is her reputation with fans from all over the world which has made a mark on White.
"By far. Not even close, by far the biggest star ever. 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. Never seen that before in my life and will probably never see it again. That's how big Ronda Rousey is", White said, as quoted by MMAFighting.
Rousey has been out of action since November 2015, where she suffered a shock defeat to Holly Holm at UFC 193. Holm knocked Rousey out with a vicious head kick, inflicting what was the first and only loss of the American's career to date. While there is no confirmed date for Rousey's return, White said that she would be given a chance to reclaim her Bantamweight title when she decides to return to the Octagon.