With Conor McGregor’s absence and uncertainty about his next fight date, there seems to be a current lack of superstars that will banner the UFC. But company president Dana White has one name in mind to take on that role.
“Our most bankable (future) star?” White said on Friday’s episode of the Dan Le Batard Show on ESPN (via MMA Fighting), “November 4 at Madison Square Garden, this kid who’s the world champion, he’s gonna fight. His name is Cody No Love. Very marketable guy. I think Cody No Love could be the next big star.”
Even before he won the bantamweight title against Dominick Cruz last December, Cody Garbrandt already established himself as a knockout artist, winning four of his six UFC fights in such manner. He will be defending the 135-pound belt for the first time against former teammate T.J. Dillashaw at UFC 217, as one of the three title fights scheduled on the card.
But as he praised Garbrandt, White also expressed his disappointment towards Jon Jones. The former light heavyweight champion had the perfect redemption story at UFC 214 when he reclaimed the title via third round knockout against Daniel Cormier, but it was all nullified and voided when he once again tested positive for a banned substance.
White discussed the “what could have beens” if Jones had not failed his drug test and remained champion, but eventually concluded that it was all due to being unable to handle the trappings of fame and success.
“He’d also go down in history as probably the greatest ever and if nothing ever happened he’d probably be fighting at heavyweight right now and who knows what could have happened? I’m in a business where when the fame happens and the money — you have to understand the crazy type of money that comes into the fight business instantly,” White said.
“Even in the NFL, they come in at a certain level and if they become great, they have the opportunity to make millions.
“Jon Jones came in and just started making millions of dollars immediately and he was, like, 24 years old,” White added. “And you can go back to interviews of me saying, ‘That’s great, he’s talented enough to win the belt. Can he handle the pressure and all the stuff that goes along with being a world champion? With being famous? With being rich?’ And that question got answered.”