The division needs to evolve. That's what Dana White usually says when a journalist suggests a match that could potentially affect the stability of a division. Absolutely not! Dana White cares about the credibility and integrity of the sport and blocking a division is a disgrace to the sport and every athlete competing in that weight class. The UFC largely upholds the sanctity of the divisions, but there have been times when Dana White was perfectly willing to screw over every fighter in the division, all for the sake of one individual.

Below are the special forces soldiers who wielded so much power in the company and the favor of Dana White that they could ruin an entire division with impunity. One of them is still around as we speak.

Michael Bisping (2016–2017)

When Michael Bisping knocked out Luke Rockhold at UFC 199 to win the middleweight title, it was a feel-good moment. Bisping was the underdog of his career, defeating someone who should have been the next dominant champion at 185. Unfortunately, Bisping became champion of a completely crowded division, and he was a significant underdog against each of the top five contenders, most notably Yoel Romero.

Who did Bisping face in his first title defense? 13th-ranked, nearly 50-year-old Dan Henderson, who should have retired half a decade ago. To be honest, this was a parting gift for Henderson, and the old veteran nearly knocked Bisping out of the fight at UFC 204, losing a very close decision.


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Bisping was covered in blood and barely survived the fight against Dan Henderson, so you had to ask yourself: What would Yoel Romero do?

Romero further cemented his claim as the rightful challenger when he practically hit Chris Weidman in the head with a flying knee at the next pay-per-view. This was the fight to win, but Bisping then suffered some sort of injury. We never really found out what kind of injury it was or how serious it was, but as soon as the company announced Bisping vs. Georges St-Pierre for the title at UFC 217, the champion made a miraculous recovery.

St-Pierre defeated Bisping at Madison Square Garden to end a title reign that had disillusioned middleweights, particularly Yoel Romero. St-Pierre enjoyed his newfound middleweight title for a few months, but then voluntarily relinquished it and the division got back on track.

Conor McGregor (2015–2018)

This fight is special and makes sense because we are talking about McGregor, the biggest star in the sport. At UFC 194, McGregor knocked out Aldo in 13 seconds to win the featherweight title. He never paid attention to that belt again. Immediately after the Aldo KO, he plunged into the rivalry with Nate Diaz and after going 1-1 with Diaz, he was awarded a title shot in the 155 division against Eddie Alvarez.

McGregor didn't really deserve it, but it was the first event at Madison Square Garden and UFC 205 demanded a meaningful main event, so McGregor vs. Alvarez made sense. In the fight, McGregor made short work of Alvarez to become the first-ever simultaneous double champion, and he ignored that belt, too. McGregor then decided to box Mayweather and was out of MMA for nearly two years.

Not wanting to upset its biggest star, Dana White waited and waited while both 145 and 155 languished. Finally, after a year of inactivity, the company stripped McGregor of the featherweight title and promoted Aldo to undisputed champion.

However, the lightweight belt remained with McGregor for over a year and the lightweights got fed up, especially Khabib and Ferugson. Finally, at UFC 223, the moment Khabib and Al Iaquinta touched gloves to begin their fight, McGregor was also stripped of the lightweight title, bringing the dark age to an end.

Jon Jones (2023-present)

For a long time, we wanted to see the Jon Jones vs. Francis Ngannou fight. Francis, the reigning champion, wanted it. Dana White was willing to make it. Jones wanted it, too, but he also wanted to do it right, so he spent about three years bulking up and getting used to the new division. During that time, Ngannou left and Dana White developed a grudge against him. When Ngannou was gone and the heavyweight belt was vacant, Jon Jones easily defeated Ciryl Gane to become the new champion, and Dana White hasn't stopped raving about him since. For his first title defense, Jones was scheduled to face Stipe Miocic at UFC 295, and from a marketing perspective, the fight made sense.

The greatest light heavyweight against the greatest heavyweight, but Jones pulled out of the fight due to injury and the title was not vacated. Jiri Prochazka and Jamahal Hill had to relinquish their belts due to injury, but Dana White let Jones remain champion and remained adamant about Jones vs. Stipe going forward. It was a fight they just had to do, he said.

Even when Tom Aspinall, considered by many to be the best heavyweight alive today, became interim champion at UFC 295, the plan remained: Jones vs. Stipe, no matter what. Dana White doubled down, even tripled down, on booking the fight, hailing Jones as the best fighter of all time in any combat sport.

Jones may be the greatest fighter of all time, but since he became heavyweight champion, the weight class has suffered. Aspinall will defend his interim belt against a serious challenger while Jones will face an aged Miocic this fall, and I can promise you: If the fight falls through again, the UFC will keep the rest of the division in limbo and continue to book Jones vs. Stipe Miocic until it finally happens.

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