It was the fight that killed the goose who laid the golden eggs. And yet it’s the one blockbuster pay-per-view (PPV) main event that Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President Dana White is most proud of promoting: Ronda Rousey vs. Holly Holm.
“I would say my best one is Holly Holm versus Ronda Rousey,” White said in a recent interview with Tony Robbins (transcription via MMAJunkie.com). “I did a really good job with that one. When that fight came out the odds were incredibly huge that Ronda was going to win that fight. Nobody gave Holly a chance. I said, ‘Ronda’s never fought anybody like this. Holly striking, her head kicks, her this, her that.’ Even Joe Rogan said, ‘There’s no way Holly Holm wins this fight.’ Not only did we sell the fight, but Holly Holm won the fight.”
Holm, of course, shocked the mixed martial arts (MMA) world at UFC 193 that night back in Nov. 2015, scoring a brutal second round headkick knockout to claim the women’s Bantamweight strap and hand “Rowdy” her first-ever MMA loss. It was such an enormous, unexpected win that it damn-near broke the Internet. Indeed, if website traffic numbers are any indication, Holm’s stoppage of Rousey is one of the most-searched stories in the history of MMAmania.com.
To hear White tell it, though, in the build up to the fight he knew what everyone else didn’t: Holm could win by staying on the outside of Rousey’s reach and her deadly clinch work. Even if fight fans and MMA media weren’t buying what he was pushing “Down Under” in Melbourne, Australia.
“When we put together fights, my job, because everyone is going to have an opinion right away saying, ‘This guy is going to win!’ My job is to get you to question who you think is going to win this fight,” . “So I need to gather all the information I can get on both guys and then I need to sell you on why this fight isn’t going to go the way you think it’s going to go.”
Despite talks of a mega rematch — the “biggest fight of all time” — Rousey (and White and Co.) were never able to get anything off the ground for reasons outside the cage ... and other things that were, of course, not White’s fault. Indeed, Rousey would compete just once more in the Octagon — a lopsided, violent technical knockout loss to Amanda Nunes at UFC 207 in Dec. 2016 — before bolting for greener, less violent pastures.