Dana White Declares Salt Lake City a ‘Destination’ City Ahead of UFC 278

Salt Lake City – Ultimate Fighting Championship president Dana White said he expects Utah State to continue a streak of 17 straight promotion sales when UFC 278 comes to Vivint Arena on August 20.

“Any of you who knows anything about how I work knows that I love destinations. I love places that people want to travel to. Much like the UFC, this place (Salt Lake City) is burning right now, and it continues to grow and thrive and become one of the global destinations in the world” .

Ryan Smith, chairman of Smith Entertainment Group and owner of Utah Jazz, echoed White’s sentiments

“Something has changed as Salt Lake is no longer an upper city and not an upper state of Utah. I think that manifests itself through concert tours, manifests itself through events like this, and it becomes a destination.”

White later doubled down on his comments, stating his knowledge of the country and its inhabitants’ view of their homeland.

“I know you carry this chip on your shoulder because you think this place has not arrived, but you have. Believe me, Salt Lake City has arrived,” White said. “This is a destination. It is a place where you can come and stay in great hotels and eat in great restaurants and stores.” When people come for the weekend. It’s all about what’s going on, and how the atmosphere, the noise and the energy at UFC Fight Night starting on a Thursday or Friday night is great. There’s nothing like it, and our employees will come from all over the world. We’re going to take over the city.”

White, who said he arrived in Salt Lake City just minutes before Tuesday’s press conference, said he was impressed with the fifth Arena, even though he only saw a small part of the field.

“I have been to arenas all over the world. This is one of the most beautiful arenas I have been to,” White said. “I can’t wait to see what’s left. I can’t wait for our fans to come out and see (this place).”

UFC 278 will be named the main card for Kamaru “The Nigerian Nightmare” Usman against Leon “Rocky” Edwards. Usman will be looking to defend his welterweight title against Edwards.

Usman and Edwards previously fought in 2015. Usman won the first match by unanimous decision.

#1 men’s fighter vs. Pound Usman (20-1), former winner of The ultimate fighter Season 21, achieved victories over Colby Covington (twice), Jorge Masvidal (twice) and Gilbert Burns. Usman is now aiming to secure his sixth consecutive defense against Edwards. He last fought last November and was recovering from his broken hand.

Edwards (19-3 1NC) has been riding 10 games unbeaten since his first encounter with Usman in late 2015. He racked up wins against Nate Diaz, Rafael Dos Anjos and Vicente Luque along the way to earn his first UFC title opportunity. His last match was in June 2021.

Smith, chairman of Smith Entertainment Group that operates Vivint Arena, said bringing UFC 278 to Utah was proof of the Beehive State’s growing stature.

“I think it’s just the beginning,” Smith said. “I think it shows you growing up in Utah and all that everyone has worked for for so long. And this is only one moment in time that we will see the fruits of it. You will start to see more and more. We are just happy to be a part of it.”

UFC 278 will be the second time Salt Lake City has hosted a UFC event. The first was a UFC fight night, featuring Yair Rodriguez against Alex Caceres in August 2016. It will be the first-ever pay-per-view card event in Salt Lake City.

Battles are scheduled to begin at 4 PM (MDT) on August 20 at Vivint Arena.

UFC 278 tickets will go on sale Friday, June 24 at 10 a.m. (MDT) and can be purchased via Ticketmaster.com

Undercard spells appeared

Other featured battles scheduled include:

Former UFC featherweight champion and current No. 3 bantamweight contender Jose Aldo (31-7) battles to No. 6 Merab Dvalishvili (14-4)

4th-seeded flyweight contender Paulo Costa (13-2) takes on former champion Luke Rockhold (16-5)

The 13th seed in flyweight Amir El Bazi (14-1) will face Francisco Figueiredo (13-4-1 1NC)

He will face the tenth-placed heavyweight Marcin Tibora (22-7) and he will face the unbeaten 13th-placed Alexander Romanov (18-0).

White stated that the card will be fully filled out as the event approaches, and added that he expects to see fighters from Utah or those with connections to the state to be on the card.

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