Dana White may just have his next big superstar ... 'cause as long as Paddy Pimblett keeps on stacking W's, the UFC honcho believes "The Baddy" could reach Conor McGregor-like status!
"He has that 'it' factor that I always talk about and you know, and obviously he's undefeated here in the UFC. If he can keep winning these key fights, this kid will be a massive superstar," White told TMZ Sports.
"The other thing is too and you know about this, the thing with his dog going to the bathroom was so unbelievably viral, it was insane. There's things that go viral on the Internet but you guys did like a 10-minute piece on that thing on TMZ and other outlets did. It was everywhere! It was really big in America, so stuff like that doesn't hurt, either."
27-year-old Pimblett -- 3-0 in the UFC (19-3 overall) -- is fighting Jared Gordon as part of the co-main event at UFC 282 ... where Paddy will look to extend his UFC unbeaten streak.
As for the comparisons to McGregor ... here's what Dana had to say.
"It's never an insult when somebody compares you to a great or one of the biggest names in the sport. I think that [Israel Adesanya] didn't like it because he doesn't like Jon Jones and Jon Jones doesn't like him. I think that's why he didn't, but it's never an insult. It's a compliment."
We also asked White about all other things 282-related (fight's going down Saturday night from Las Vegas) ... including the UFC president's feelings on Jiri Prochazka's injury, and his relinquishing of the light heavyweight title.
Dana also weighs in on former champ Glover Teixeira -- who was supposed to fight Jiri -- instead opting NOT to fight a new opponent on the card.
White actually believes it was a smart strategic move on the part of the 43-year-old fighter.
Bottom line ... with or without Prochazka and Texeira, Dana believes it's a kickass card.
"I put this card right up there with last weekend's in Orlando that broke all the records -- was the biggest fight this year, broke the gate record for fight nights in the U.S. and the card was absolutely phenomenal. That's exactly what this card is like but with a title fight."