At the start of 2018, if you had told Craig White that he was going to be a UFC fighter and somewhere along the way he would plant a kiss on Diego Sanchezs nose, he probably wouldnt have believed you.
And although thats exactly what ended up happening to The Thundercat, he is now eyeing a return to the Cage Warriors ranks in March following his whirlwind UFC stint that saw him shift 46 pounds to make his short notice debut against Neil Magny in Liverpool before facing the legendary Nightmare four months later in Dallas.
Although White feared the worst in terms of his future with the promotion after two losses, a visit to the UFCs Performance Institute gave him a slightly more positive outlook. However, the day after he returned to the U.K. from Sin City, White discovered that his time with the UFC had run its course.
I got back [from the UFC Performance Institute] and the next day I got a call to say I was cut, White told Eurobash.
I had gone over there and everyone seemed to be helping me and the fact that they wanted me to come over...I thought that maybe things would be a bit different, but because I had already accepted [being released by the UFC] it wasnt that much of a shock.
Other people were more shocked than I was with the news, but I had already accepted it straight after the Dallas fight because I felt I had put on a sh*t performance compared to what I can do. I still havent watched the fight back to back that up, but Im pretty sure thats how Id look at it.
It is a shame, he added, But Im realistic. I never thought in my life that Id make it to the UFC. The fact that I got there last year and took it without any hesitation, thats an ambition that Ive always had to be in that top one percent in the UFC. Youve got to just get in there and give it all you can.
From the adulation of his short-notice signing to the sniping comments about his loss to Sanchez, White experienced a whirlwind of social media interactions during his time with the UFC.
Without a doubt, one of the biggest talking points of his time with the promotion was when he kissed Sanchez on the nose as the veteran snarled at their final face off at the Dallas events weigh-in.
Within five minutes it was on BBC news, remembered White. Everyone back home was texting me, What the f*ck are you doing? What have you done that for? You never do this. I was just like, I dont know, it just felt like the right thing to do at the time.
Its so out of character for me and I dont know if Id ever do it again. It was just in the heat of the moment. I said, Im going to do it to hype the fight up. I knew it would get to him and it was all for that. It was to try and build a bit more behind the fight. All week he had been saying that Id struggle with my weight cut and in a way I thought that this would be my revengeand it worked.
The next day I got his arse in my face for about half a round. Ive become this instant meme where if you kiss someone on the nose you get their arse in your face!
Despite the trolling that ensued, White is adamant that he doesnt regret his show of affection.
The thing Ive learned about trolls is, if you join in on the joke and have a joke at your own expense, you take that away from them and then they get bored. But it got really boring, some of them werent creative at all. It was all just the same boring stuff that everyone else comes up with.
I wouldnt change any of it, the whole experience that I had with the UFCtaking the Magny fight on short notice and struggling with the weight cut, I wouldnt change that. Going to Dallas and kissing Diego Sanchez, I wouldnt change that. Obviously, Id change my performances if I could, but theres no point dwelling on it. Its just something that happened and its done now and Ive got to look to the future.
Before moving to the UFC, White was winning his way into title contention and will look to regain momentum when he returns to his former stronghold on March 2 at Cage Warriors 102 in London.
Cage Warriors was always where I was going, I essentially class it as my home MMA wise, so I wouldnt want to compete anywhere else and the fact that theyve got a way more stacked welterweight division now compared to a year ago [helps]. Theyve got top European talent, theyve got everyone that youd want to fight against. Youve got [Nicolas] Dalby, [Alex] Lohore and [Ross] Houstonthats just some of the names. Why wouldnt you want to go in there and compete against those guys?
Check out the latest episode of Eurobash. The Craig White interview beings at 1:13:10.