Dana White doesn’t think people realize just how big of a star Khabib Nurmagomedov really is.
The UFC 254 video promo generated a whopping 2.3 million views on YouTube in the first week of its release and White says Khabib vs. Gaethje is on track to surpass Khabib vs. McGregor as the biggest fight in UFC history.
Speaking to reporters at the UFC 254 pre-fight press conference on Wednesday, White hyped Nurmagomedov — the reigning lightweight champion — as ‘one of the biggest stars in all of sports’.
“The reality is this … apparently people in the business don’t know this,” White said (h/t Ryan Harkness of MMA Mania). “Khabib is one of the biggest stars in all of sports. Not just UFC. He’s one of the biggest stars in sports.”
“I knew someone was going to ask me this today. Khabib’s videos have generated 222 million views. His content that features him: over 100 million views this year alone on Facebook. He’s broken records on Instagram, I could rattle off numbers all day. He’s the number one by far most played character in the video game by a long shot. And the numbers just go on and on, I could go on for days. But the kid’s broke a lot of records.”
“And what makes this fight so big is that people believe this kid [Gaethje] has the style to beat him. So you have all the ingredients for a massive fight. You have a big superstar and you’ve got a kid that’s coming off an incredible win over a highly respected fighter and many people believe that he has the style to win.”
“UFC 254 impressions are at 23 billion,” White said later. “So how is this such a big fight? The world is not the same place it was eight months ago. Everything is completely different now and this is a massive fight that didn’t even need a world tour to pull 23 billion impressions.”
UFC 254: Khabib vs. Gaethje takes place this Saturday, Oct. 24 at the Flash Forum at Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
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