UFC president Dana White has expressed optimism about the organization’s fortunes in 2018, and he may have given a hint as to why during a lighthearted interview with TSN’s Aaron Bronsteter this weekend.
Chatting backstage in Boston at UFC 220, White engaged in a conversation about fight betting, as Bronsteter produced a home-made odds list and invited White to place imaginary wagers on a variety of UFC-related prop bets.
Each prop concerned the return of a big-name UFC star, and White’s selections were pretty surprising and rather exciting if you’re a fan of the UFC.
First off, the UFC president confidently predicted that Irish superstar Conor McGregor would fight at least TWICE in the UFC in 2018 before also suggesting another two-weight world champion, Canadian fan favorite Georges St-Pierre, would also return to the Octagon this year.
Unsurprisingly, White squashed any suggestion of Ronda Rousey making a UFC comeback, opting to take the skinny -1000 odds on her not coming back to the sport.
Given her last two bouts saw her knocked out by Holly Holm’s head kick then battered to a standing TKO by current world champion Amanda Nunes, it’s little surprise Rousey’s attention now appears to be turning toward WWE rather than the UFC.
But the UFC president surprised us again when, after a brief moment’s hesitation, he took the odds on a 2018 return for former UFC heavyweight champion and current WWE superstar Brock Lesnar.
Lesnar last appeared at UFC 200, where his TKO stoppage of Kiwi veteran Mark Hunt was later wiped out after it was revealed he failed multiple drug tests during the week of the fight. However, rumors of Lesnar’s return to the UFC from the WWE have never fully disappeared, and White’s admission that he’d take +500 odds on a Lesnar return will do little to stop them.
White then said he’d take the +150 on wayward star Jon Jones making his UFC return this year. Jones knocked out old rival Daniel Cormier to win back the UFC light-heavyweight title last year but was then stripped of the belt after news broke of another failed USADA drug test. He’s currently battling a potential four-year ban, but hopes are growing that the controversial former champion may receive a reduced sentence for as-yet undisclosed mitigating circumstances.
Here’s a list of the fantasy props posed to the UFC president, together with White’s reaction to each one:
Will Conor McGregor fight more than once in 2018?
White: “I’m gonna take the odds. I’ll say yes.”
Will Georges St-Pierre return to the UFC in 2018?
White: “I’m gonna make a lot of money. I’m gonna say yes at +150.”
Will Ronda Rousey fight in the UFC in 2018?
White: “I’m gonna take no at -1000.”
Will Brock Lesnar fight in the UFC in 2018?
White: “I’m gonna take the odds again and say yes.”
Will Jon Jones fight in the UFC in 2018?
White: “I’ll take the yes at +150”
[Main image credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports]