Dana White has been at the helm of the UFC since 2001. Over the past 20 years, the UFC president has become close with many of the promotion’s fighters. White is also known for his public bust-ups with fighters and managers but has remained friends with some of the biggest stars in MMA.
Here are 5 UFC fighters that Dana White has close friendships with.
#5 Conor McGregor
Despite having a classic love-hate relationship, Conor McGregor is still one of Dana White’s favorite fighters and friends. The two did have a falling out recently after McGregor made private Twitter messages public but the two have since reconciled.
In fact, on a recent episode of Mike Tyson's Hotboxin' podcast, Dana White named Conor McGregor as his favorite fighter.
During his legendary rise in the UFC, the Irishman would refer to the UFC president as 'Uncle Dana'. The two would even share post-fight drinking sessions at McGregor’s mansion alongside former UFC owner Lorenzo Fertitta (Uncle Lorenzo).
#4 Matt Hughes
Former UFC welterweight champion Matt Hughes has long been one of Dana White’s favorites. White has even named the title fight between Hughes and Frank Trigg as his all-time favorite UFC fight.
Hughes was named as one of the coaches for The Ultimate Fighter show and was also given an ‘ambassador role’ by White after he retired. He has been inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame on two occasions.
The first induction was as a fighter in 2010. Then, in 2015, Hughes was inducted for a second time, along with Trigg for their fight at UFC 52.
#3 Khabib Nurmagomedov
The greatest UFC lightweight champion of all-time, Khabib Nurmagomedov, has a close relationship with Dana White.
As Nurmagomedov's Instagram post above shows, he considers White not only a friend but a brother. The Eagle has always thanked the UFC and Dana for changing his family's life.
Dana White recently tried everything in his power to delay Nurmagomedov from retiring, including multiple dinner dates but ultimately failed. The tweet below shows White's feelings towards 'The Eagle'.
#2 Ronda Rousey
For years, Dana White said he would never let women fight in the UFC; then he met Ronda Rousey. White was blown away by the combination of Rousey's exciting fighting style and good looks.
He immediately named her the first UFC women's bantamweight champion and created the 135-pound division for her. Rousey's undefeated run proved that Dana was correct to change his mind about allowing women to compete in the UFC.
Rousey was the first woman inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame in 2018. White also showed his support for his friend by attending Wrestlemania 34 to watch her compete in her first WWE match.
#1 Chuck Liddell
Chuck Liddell is probably Dana White’s longest and closest friend when it comes to UFC fighters. Before White became UFC president, he was The Iceman’s manager.
As Chuck Liddell's stock rose so did the UFC’s success and the friendship between the two grew. Once Liddell’s fighting career started to go downhill, White was there to help his friend out.
Dana White cared so much about Liddell's long-term health that he forced him into retirement in 2010. White then gave Liddell a high-paying ‘ambassador’ job for the UFC. Liddell was also inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame in 2010.