UFC president Dana White is undoubtedly the greatest promoter in MMA history, but he’s also a highly combustible figure who is renowned for falling out with his fighters from time to time. And often, even the UFC’s champions have been no exception.
White is usually highly supportive of his champions, but on some occasions, the UFC has had a titleholder that the promotion’s president just couldn’t get along with.
Sometimes these champions clashed with Dana White over money, and on other occasions it was simply a matter of respect. But regardless, despite their lofty status in the UFC, they were never popular with the president.
Here are five UFC champions that Dana White never liked:
#5. Cris Cyborg – UFC women’s featherweight champion
For a long time, it felt like Cris Cyborg would always be on the outside of the UFC looking in. When the UFC bought out Strikeforce in 2011 and assimilated its fighters onto their roster in 2013, Cyborg was never brought in despite being that promotion’s reigning featherweight champion.
No official reason was given, but it was clear that Dana White wasn’t a fan of the Brazilian, even labeling her “Wanderlei Silva in a dress” in one notorious interview.
By 2016 though, the UFC had clearly decided that Cyborg’s value as a fighter outstripped the fact that she was supposedly tricky to work with. They brought her in for two fights at a 140 pounds catchweight, and when it became clear that she’d never make 135 pounds, decided to install a 145-pound division primarily to suit her.
However, problems between Cyborg and White began when she claimed she couldn’t make weight for the UFC’s inaugural title fight in the weight class. The UFC instead went for a fight between Holly Holm and Germaine de Randamie, and it looked like Cyborg would once again be on the outs with the promotion.
Surprisingly though, cooler heads once again prevailed, and when de Randamie refused to defend the title against Cyborg, the UFC stripped her and made a title fight between the Brazilian and Tonya Evinger instead. Cyborg duly won the title and then appeared to become one of the UFC’s go-to stars.
But despite bailing the UFC out on late notice by offering to main event UFC 222 in 2018, it was always clear that Dana White wasn’t fully on board with the Brazilian, and once she lost her title to Amanda Nunes, things quickly turned sour.
Cyborg continually demanded a rematch, but simply couldn’t come to terms with the UFC over it, with White claiming on multiple occasions that the Brazilian wasn’t really interested in another clash with Nunes.
She fought once more in the UFC – a win over Felicia Spencer – before coming to a mutual agreement to leave the promotion. According to White, he was “out of the Cyborg business” and seemed happier for it.