by Tom Hamlin – MMAWeekly.com
With UFC 94 already in the books as another
gate-buster, UFC president Dana White had every reason to be thrilled at the
post-fight press conference. Exhaustion was his latest opponent.
“We’ve done like five fights in the last month,”
he said. “After you get done with a week like this… you just try to get through
it. I’ll be back in mode again on Monday.”
Apart from his staffers’ projections, he knew the
fight would be successful after talking with other UFC fighters.
“This was a big fight because of who B.J. Penn
is, and because of who Georges St. Pierre is,” White said. “They’re both very
well respected by the fans, by other fighters. This was a big fight. You can
gauge how big a fight is and how exciting it is by how many fighters are pumped
up to see a fight. And every one of them couldn’t wait to see this fight
The “Primetime” special featuring Penn and St.
Pierre proved to be a wise investment for the promotion, mirroring the success
of “24/7” as a vehicle to generate interest in a fight. Its $1.7 million
price tag will reserve it for three big fights a year, according to White, but
it will stay in the UFC’s promoting arsenal.
“It was a good experience,” he said. “Obviously,
me and B.J. got into a big fight during the show, but other than that, it was
St. Pierre’s victory over Penn did much to cement
his legacy as one of the greatest fighters in the game today. Another super
fight opportunity lingers with Anderson Silva, but White says the French
Canadian still has some work to do before he takes the spot of the pound for
“I still wouldn’t call him pound for pound the
best in the world, but he’s number two, no doubt about it,” White said.
“Georges takes out Thiago Alves? He’s on his way. I would say Georges St.
Pierre would be neck and neck with Anderson had he not lost to Matt Serra.”
Penn was shuttled to a local hospital after the
fight and was unable to attend the press conference. He will soon defend his
lightweight title for the second time, against Kenny Florian. White said it was
unlikely Penn would move up in weight again in the near future.
“I don’t think I’ll have to encourage him to do
that,” he said.
But he stressed that size wasn’t at the root of
Penn’s defeat. The Hawaiian was simply outgunned.
“Georges beat him tonight, period.”