White: Khabib vs. Gaethje is “Trending” to be “Biggest” UFC Fight Ever
We'll see what happens, but Dana White says Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Justin Gaethje is trending to be the biggest fight in UFC history.
For weeks, the narrative has been that Saturday’s bout between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Justin Gaethje would be one of the biggest fights in 2020, if not the biggest. But, a few days out from UFC 254, Dana White’s reporting the fight’s trending to be the biggest in UFC history.
White says Khabib – Gaethje is trending to be the biggest UFC bout ever
Over the last couple of years, Khabib’s following and fame have skyrocketed. After all, he’s become the UFC’s lightweight champ, remained undefeated and of course, defeated Conor McGregor in the biggest UFC fight to date.
Gaethje’s fame has also reached new levels in the last year or so, on account of his recent run of finishes, and his win over Tony Ferguson in May. The fact he’s one of the most entertaining and violent fighters in the game doesn’t hurt either.
Well, on account of all that, most people understand Khabib – Gaethje is going to be pretty massive. But, it sounds like it could be even bigger than a lot of folks thought.
While talking to the media this week in Abu Dhabi, White reported this (quotes via MMA Junkie).
“Apparently, people around the sport don’t realize what a superstar this kid is,” White said. “This thing is trending off the charts – on Monday.
On Monday, it’s trending off the charts to be the biggest fight in UFC history. It’s trending on Tuesday to be the biggest fight in UFC history. Then today, we’ll get another update today.”
“So how does a fight trend that big?” White asked. “When you look at these type of numbers and what’s going on, that’s how.”
One of the awe-inspiring figures, as to why the bout’s trending so high, is that the UFC has tracked media coverage of the fight in over 50 countries, and that’s there’s been 23 billion impressions online. That’s a crazy figure.
Further, according to the UFC’s figures, Nurmagomedov videos have generated more than 222 million views on Facebook.
Does this mean Khabib – Gaethje beats Khabib – McGregor?
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Now, White has acknowledged that this doesn’t necessarily mean that Saturday’s fight will outsell Khabib’s 2018 bout with McGregor, which is believed to have mover around 2.4 million pay-per-view buys.
UFC 254 is taking place during the day, here in North America, so it’s not clear if that might impact PPV sales. It’s also possible, of course, that just because the fight’s generating a ridiculous amount of interest online, that not all those people are going to actually watch the bout.
Also, it’s important to remember that White’s a promoter, and it’s his job to generate buzz for a fight.
But, even if it doesn’t outsell Khabib – McGregor, it’s pretty clear that Nurmagomedov has become a massive, massive star. If Gaethje beats him, then he’ll take another step towards becoming one of the biggest names in combat sports too (if he’s not already there).