UFC, or the Ultimate Fighting Championship, is the largest mixed martial arts competition in the world. UFC participants are among some of the top-ranked fighters in the world, as they have typically mastered the 5,000-year-old art of MMA. A study conducted in January 2017 showed that more than 8,000,000 people watched 13 fight night, averaging about 644,000 buys on pay-per-view per show. With millions of people watching, it makes sense that these highly-skilled fighters would get a pretty hefty cut of the earnings. In this post, you will learn about some of the highest-paid UFC fighters. This list is based on a data compilation of the players’ earnings. The data suggests that the fighters made roughly this average amount per year since 2004, when UFC began releasing the earnings for each of its most memorable fighters:
1. CONOR MCGREGOR | $9,542,000
Even if someone hasn’t watched UFC fights before, they’ve likely heard the name Conor McGregor. This Irish fighter has been the UFC Featherweight and Lightweight champion in the UFC competition. He started his MMA career in 2008. His high earnings are due to his famous fight with Floyd Mayweather, which drew millions to television sets across the country and around the world. This fighter has also been mentioned as one of Forbes Magazine’s top 100 highest paid athletes. Although he ranked 85th on the list, he was actually the first MMA fighter to make it. After he won the Lightweight Championship in 2017, he took time off as he and his partner Dee Devlin welcomed their son, Conor Jack McGregor, Jr. on May 5, 2017. The fighters’ estimated worth is $35 million.
2. MICHAEL BISPING | $7,135,000
Nicknamed “The Count,” Bisping made his MMA debut in 2006, although he did compete in Knock Down Sport Budo, an early form of MMA, when he was only 15 back in 1994. His rise in popularity came when he overcame American MMA fighter Luke Rockhold and secured the Middleweight Championship in 2016. But this wouldn’t have been possible if someone didn’t talk him into it. After years of hard work, Bisping decided to give up on his MMA dreams when he was 18, but someone was able to talk him into it again. His dream didn’t come without problems. He had to stop fighting for a period of time in his career because he couldn’t afford it. He took jobs in slaughterhouses, demolition companies, and so forth. He now has three children and works as an analyst for Fox Sports.
3. GEORGES ST-PIERRE | $7,037,000
Hailing from Canada, this professional fighter holds black belts in Kyokushin karate and Brazilian Jiu JItsu, both of which helped him to become a powerhouse in the UFC cage. After competition in and winning his first amateur fight when he was 16, he continued to focus on training his body for fights. He was the 2006 UFC Welterweight Champion, but lost the title in 2007, only to regain it again in 2008. He maintained his title until Dec. 13, 2013 when he retired holding the record for most wins in title fights. He returned to the cage in November 2017 and overcame Bisping to secure the UFC Middleweight Championship title. Although he lives in Montreal, he travels around the world to train with the best coaches around.
4. ANDERSON SILVA | $6,822,000
This Brazilian MMA fighter and former UFC Middleweight Champion was heralded by Dana White, UFC’s president, as the best MMA fighter ever die to his 16 consecutive wins and 10 title defenses. That made him the longest-reigning champion of all UFC history. Silva grew up in a poor family, but his family managed to save up enough money for Tae Kwon Do lessons when he was 12. He worked a number of jobs as he worked to improve his skill. He has three sons and two daughters with his wife Dayane, and he hopes to pursue film and television dreams in the future.
5. ALISTAIR OVEREEM | $6,119,500
“The Reem” is a Dutch fighter who is also a former Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion. His interest in MMA began when he was only 15. His brother, Valentijin, took him to a gym to learn self-defense, something he lacked knowledge of after his father divorced his mother when he was six. He started out as a kickboxer, but later expanded to MMA fighting in the UFC octagon. Some of his notable fights were with Kazuyuki Fujita, Brett Rogers, and the next highest-paid fighter Vitor Belfort.
6. VITOR BELFORT | $5,140, 200
This Brazilian fighter has a black belt in Jui Jitsu and has held the UFC Light Heavyweight and UFC-12 Heavyweight 4-Man Tournament Championships. Belfort, also known as “The Phenom,” credits Jesus as his hero and says that he started out in the sport because it was challenging, something he likes.
7. BROCK LESNAR | $5,080,000
Lesnar, from Webster, South Dakota, is known for his time on WrestleMania XIX 2003, Summerslam in 2002, and WWE Unforgiven in 2002. A highlight of his MMA career included defeating Kazuyuki Fujita and Masahiro Chono in 2005, and training with UFC fighter Royce Gracie. He has continued to soar in the UFC world since his debut in 2007.
8. JON JONES | $5,080,000
A pastor’s son from Rochester, New York, Jones is known for his unorthodox, yet UFC legal moves in the octagon. He began his MMA career when his girlfriend told him she was pregnant with their daughter Leah. He knew he didn’t make enough money as a bouncer, so he began training to become an MMA fighter. Although he had no formal training, he won his first fight against Brad Bernard by TKO in 2008.
9. RASHAD EVANS |$4,565,000
Another fighter from New York, Evans won the Heavyweight Championship in 2005. He continues to compete in MMA Live and had a background in wrestling while he was pursing his degree in Psychology at Michigan State University.\
10. DAN HENDERSON | $4,400,000
A highly-respected athlete, Henderson is a two-time Olympic wrestler who joined the UFC after fighting in Strikeforce. He has won four different international events in the heavyweight, light heavyweight, and middleweight divisions. He currently owns a fitness center in California.