UFC star Chuck Liddell (left) losing to PRIDE FC star Quinton Jackson at Pride "Final Conflict" 2003. Probably not one of those "fun moments" Dana White is referring to.
Do you miss the old days (and old arguments) about Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) vs. PRIDE Fighting Championship (PRIDE FC)?
So does UFC President Dana White.
But you know the old saying, if you can't beat 'em, buy 'em. And that's exactly what ZUFFA, the parent company of UFC, did back in early 2007 for around $70 million.
A virtual bargain for what was once considered the premier combat sports league. Even to White.
"Japan is an important market for us, it was a place that was huge at one time. Some of the greatest fights that ever happened in MMA have happened in Japan. And I've always said, that huge rivalry between us and PRIDE, it was some of the funnest moments of my life. It was actually fun. If you look back throughout history, there's only one show that I have ever said was a competitor to the UFC and it was PRIDE. It was the only show that I would ever put on the same level and put on a pedestal, that was the same as the UFC."
The UFC will head back to "The Land of the Rising Sun" with its UFC 144: "Edgar vs. Henderson" fight card on Feb. 26, 2012, from the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan, in an attempt to resurrect the Japanese fight scene under a new regime.
Cage and all.
Hear White talk to Telegraph.co.uk about his quest to one day get 100,000 fans back into a stadium to watch to guys duke it out for a title, after the jump.
Can UFC 144, along with PRIDE stars of yesteryear like Quinton Jackson, open the door to a prosperous MMA market in Japan?