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USA Today Sports Media Group
Matthew Wells and Danny Segura

Dana White gives thoughts on Sandhagen vs. Vera decision, Holm’s legacy, UFC in Mexico and more

SAN ANTONIO – UFC president Dana White touched on a number of topics after UFC on ESPN 43.

After 10 fights at AT&T Center, White answered questions from reporters about main event winner Cory Sandhagen, former women’s bantamweight champion Holly Holm, Donald Cerrone’s Hall of Fame announcement, plans for a UFC event in Mexico and more.

Check out White’s comments and responses below:

'What the f*ck?': White reacts to main event decision in Sandhagen vs. Marlon Vera

Mar 25, 2023; San Antonio, Texas, USA; Cory Sandhagen (blue gloves) reacts after defeating Marlon Vera (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Meullion-USA TODAY Sports

“I was literally coming out of the bathroom and I was like, ‘What the f*ck?’ Yeah, were you surprised? I think everybody was surprised. It could have been 5-0. Could have been 4-0, but yeah, split? Wow. Yeah, that’s pretty scary.”


White assesses performance of Sandhagen and Vera

Mar 25, 2023; San Antonio, Texas, USA; Marlon Vera (red gloves) fights Cory Sandhagen (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Meullion-USA TODAY Sports

“He looked incredible. He shut him down, incredible footwork, lateral movement, takedowns – he had it all,” White said about Sandhagen.

“‘Chito’ to me looked really slow in the (Dominick) Cruz fight, right up until he caught him and knocked him out,” White said about Vera. “So, I was kind of waiting for that last two rounds, and even his corner said to him you have two more rounds to finish this guy, you need to finish this fight.”


White reacts to Holly Holm's dominant performance against Yana Santos

Mar 25, 2023; San Antonio, Texas, USA; Holly Holm (red gloves) fights Yana Santos (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Meullion-USA TODAY Sports

“I thought she looked incredible tonight. I thought it was weird Santos was like charging her and getting in the clinch with her, and then Holly would just take her down and do whatever she wanted, and she kept doing the same thing they stood up on their feet.”

“She’s been at the top the whole time she’s been here. Look at how good she looked tonight. Every time you think Holly is starting to get too old, she comes in and puts on a performance like she did tonight. She looked good. I thought Santos had a horrible gameplan as far as I’m concerned. I’m no coach, but Holly did what she needed to do and completely dominated.”

White on Donald Cerrone's Hall of Fame announcement

Jul 2, 2022; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Donald Cerrone holds his children after a loss to Jim Miller (not pictured) during UFC 276 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

“We love ‘Cowboy.’ When you look at what he meant to the WEC and then he came over here and what he’s meant to the UFC, what he’s meant to the sport as a whole, and he’s a great human being too, so it’s a win-win-win for everybody.”

“We flew his family in. He didn’t know his family was here either. We tried to get his grandmother in here too, but healthwise it didn’t work. She wanted to come. She tried everything she could to try to make it happen. We were even going to fly an EMT with her to come with her on the trip but we couldn’t get it done. We love the guy, and we’re happy for him.”

White on plans for a UFC event in Mexico in 2023

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – MARCH 04: Alexa Grasso of Mexico reacts to her win over Valentina Shevchenko of Kyrgyzstan in the UFC flyweight championship fight during the UFC 285 event at T-Mobile Arena on March 04, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

“We would obviously love to get back to Mexico and do that, but I don’t know if it’s in the plans right now. We’re building a PI down there right now, and wait until you guys see that. I can’t wait to share that with you, actually. The renderings for the UFC PI in Mexico. It’s going to be badass. … We got three Mexican champions. We probably should be heading to Mexico, or at least doing a Cinco De Mayo, but that didn’t work out either.”

“Some of the baddest human beings to walk the face of the earth have come out of Mexico, and me being a huge boxing fan growing up too, Mexico’s always been an important market to me. It took longer than I expected it to, but – it did and it didn’t, I guess. I’m impatient and expect things a lot quicker than they happen. The UK and Mexico were both very important to me.”

White says Holm to be in the UFC Hall of Fame one day

Nov 15, 2015; Melbourne, Australia; Holly Holm (blue gloves) celebrates after defeating Ronda Rousey (not pictured) during UFC 193 at Etihad Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Roberts-USA TODAY Sports

“What’s incredible about Holly Holm, is what does she mean to combat sports, period? Boxing Hall of Fame, she’ll end up in the UFC Hall of Fame, she did kickboxing too. She’s a very unique, incredible human being, let alone woman. She’s somebody we’ll absolutely, positively celebrate – all of her achievements in all combat sports. She’s incredible, and one of the nicest human beings you’ll ever meet.”

White reacts to Daniel Cormier's comments about Belal Muhammed being passed for welterweight title shot

“Well, Daniel Cormier doesn’t make those decisions. That’s nice of him, but yeah, we have plans for Belal. Belal’s going to fight again soon, and then we’ll find out who’s next in line.”

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