‘Africa Is Finally Catching Up’– Dana White Reveals Big Plans for UFC

Published 06/23/2021, 5:59 AM EDT
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – MARCH 20: UFC President Dana White speaks to the media during the UFC 189 World Media Tour Launch press conference at Maracanazinho on March 20, 2015 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Buda Mendes/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)


The UFC is the biggest MMA promotion in the world. It has one of the most diverse rosters with fighters from all across the planet, especially from Africa. Currently, the UFC has its first three African-born champions who are competing in their respective divisions. Looking at the amount of African talent entering the UFC, Dana White is planning to increase the number of African fighters by building a performance institute in Africa.

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In a recent interview, White said “We always believed that this thing would be big globally. That we could create talent from all over the world. You know, what makes sense? Africa is finally catching up and coming in. I’m gonna build a PI over there. Anytime you find a place where people grow up in hard times, you’re going to find talented, incredible, not just fighters but athletes of all kinds.”

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Dana White continued, “The question is what resources do they have to train to learn and things like that. I’m gonna build a PI over there. And let me tell you what, you’re going to see some bad dudes coming out of Africa over the next five, six years.”

A performance institute in Africa will open up a lot of opportunities for the young athletes in the region. It will provide world-class training and equipment for the trainees. Furthermore, it can also produce job opportunities plus employment for the locals.

Who are the three African champions in the UFC?

The Nigerian-born Kamaru Usman is the first-ever African-born UFC champion. He made history back on Mar 02, 2019, by defeating Tyron Woodley at UFC 235. The fight turned out to be a one-sided affair where Usman dominated ‘The Chosen One’. Since then, ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ has successfully defended the welterweight title four times.

Israel Adesanya, who is also a Nigerian-born fighter, became the undisputed middleweight champion at UFC 243 in October 2019. Coming into the fight ‘The Last Stylebender’ had already captured the interim belt by beating Kelvin Gastelum. As of now, ‘Izzy’ has added three title defenses to his fighting resume.

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Francis Ngannou, the Cameroonian, became the third from the trio to capture the UFC gold this year. He made history by defeating his old rival Stipe Miocic in a fight that was advertised as ‘The Biggest Baddest Rematch’. ‘The Predator’ is yet to earn a title defense to his name.

The trio has shown African dominance in the UFC and is pushing for an African event. The UFC President loves the idea and wants to schedule the event next year.

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The company has already traveled to Australia, UK, Canada, UAE, etc. This is one of the reasons why UFC has such a firm grip on its audience worldwide. Getting on Africa soil will certainly help them attract a new set of audiences which will open new opportunities for the UFC.

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Saurabh Singh

210 articles

Saurabh Singh Laledia is an MMA enthusiast who works as a UFC writer for EssentiallySports. His passion for the UFC infused with his knowledge of various fight styles such as Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu motivated him to pursue a career in combat sports journalism, as it would be where he could exhibit his expert views and unbiased opinions whilst keeping the fan’s perspective alive. He started watching the sport at UFC 53 in 2005 when ‘The Ace’ Rich Franklin beat Evan Turner to claim the belt and has traced the journey of the middleweight title right from 'The Spider' to 'The Last Stylebender'.

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