Dana White Tells Ronda Rousey How She Changed His Mind About Women’s MMA

White notably claimed women would never compete in mixed martial arts before Rousey ended up changing his mind in 2013.

Dana White Ronda Rousey Mma
Dana White Ronda Rousey Mma

UFC president Dana White would not have let any women compete in his promotion, if not for Ronda Rousey.

As we all surely know by now, White famously told TMZ back in 2011 that women would never compete in the UFC.

It was odd at the time, given that Strikeforce was doing big things with the likes of Rousey, Cris Cyborg, Gina Carano, Miesha Tate and more.

However, White claims it was more an issue of timing as he reflected on it with Rousey in the latest episode of her ESPN+ series “Rowdy’s Places.”

“Everything in life is about timing,” White said (via MMA Junkie). “When I was saying we’ll never have women in the UFC, I was having a hard enough time getting men fighting in a cage accepted let alone women. You approached me, and we had like a 45-minute conversation, and halfway through it I started going, ‘Oh my God, I think I’m gonna do this. And she’s definitely the one to do this with.”

Dana White To Ronda Rousey: You Had It

Of course, White would go on to acquire Strikeforce with Rousey later becoming the first woman alongside Liz Carmouche to compete in the UFC when they fought at UFC 157 back in February 2013.

She would go on to defend her women’s bantamweight title a further five times as she quickly became one of the most popular fighters as well as biggest draws in UFC history.

Not that White was surprised, as he knew Rousey just had it.

“There’s this thing that people have, you can’t put your finger on,” White told Rousey. “They just have it. And you had it.”

“I’ll see somebody like you, and I’ll say she has the potential to be huge, but you have to actually go out and do the work and become that,” White continued. “You know. You’ve been through the process. And you were probably the best ever at the process.

“You think about when we first met, and you walked around these things, and nobody knew you, to you couldn’t walk anywhere. You were so big, and it happened like that. We know the formula, and we know when we’ve got the person, but you have to have somebody that’s willing to become that person.”

Rousey was certainly that person until she suffered successive defeats to Holly Holm and Amanda Nunes and decided to end her MMA chapter.

While many were soured by how her UFC career ended, there’s no denying the impact she had on the sport.

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