UFC fighters certainly make a lot of money every time they step into the Octagon. Their salaries range from 5 figures to 6 figures. Some of the biggest draws in the company like Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov even take home 7 figure sums for a single fight! It will come as no surprise to anyone that the duo feature in the list of the highest earners of all time purely from fights in the UFC. But who are the others?
Top Earners in UFC History
1. Conor McGregor ($15.2 million)
Conor McGregor is the obvious choice to be the top UFC earner. As of April 2020, he is the only fighter to have earned a cumulative figure of 8 digits in the UFC.
He has had a meteoric rise from earning $ 76,000 in his first fight at UFC on Fuel TV: Mousasi vs Latifi. The winning amount was only $8,000. However the Irish fighter secured the win and knockout of the night bonuses to boot.
Presently, ‘Notorious’ is one of the biggest draws of the company. Despite fighting just twice since 2016, he is miles ahead of the second-placed fighter. He has drawn in 7 figure sums in his last 5 fights.
McGregor returned to the Octagon this year and bagged $3 million for his fight against Donald Cerrone. It matched the salary he drew from his previous fight against Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229. ‘Notorious’ vowed to fight 3 times a year and will only see his bank balance swell up even further. A potential rematch with ‘The Eagle’ could displace his highest-earning fights to date. Currently, these are his fights vs Diaz and Eddie Alvarez in 2016. ‘Notorious’ took home $ 3,090,000 after each fight.
2. Alistair Overeem ($9.8 million)
Overeem announced his arrival in style by beating Brock Lesnar in his debut. As per a Sports Daily report, he earned $385,714.28 for the fight. ‘The Demolition Man’ has entered the Octagon 16 times after his stunning debut. However, he is making skyrocketing sums of late. His last 6 fights have seen him take in over $800,000 on each occasion. It tallies up to 51% of his UFC earnings. The 39-year-old has a few years left in him. However, he will not be able to hold on to second position for too long.
3. Khabib Nurmagomedov ($8.6 million)
‘The Eagle’ is one of the biggest draws in the UFC. He is the reigning Lightweight Champion and has a 28 fight win streak. The UFC Lightweight Champion has earned around $8.6 million during his 12 fights in the UFC.
Much of his whopping career earnings came from his last two fights. He earned $2,540,000 against McGregor. $2,000,000 for turning up and a further $40,000 fight week incentive pay. But he was docked $500,000 for the post-fight brawl. As per a TASS report, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov claims his son earned $6 million at UFC 242. The Dagestani fighter will surely overtake Overeem and move into second position if he fights even once in 2020.
4. Anderson Silva ($8.1 million)
As per a Sports Daily report, Silva has a cumulative career earnings of $8,112,000 million. ‘The Spider’ has gone a long way from his first fight in the company. It took place at UFC Ultimate Fight Night 5 in 2006 and saw him pocket $66,000. In his fourth fight at UFC 73, ‘The Spider’ earned a 6-digit figure for the first time. His highest-earning came from the UFC 208 Fight against Brunson. He pocketed $820,000 here.
‘The Spider’ is 45 years old and will be winding down his career soon. He is sure to have one last big payday before calling it quits. However, 4th seems the highest spot he can attain as it seems impossible for him to significantly overtake ‘The Eagle.’
5. Michael Bisping ($7.1 million)
‘The Count’ joined the UFC in 2006 and earned $20,000 for his first fight. He fought 29 times in the company. The fighter earned his first 6 figure payday in his 9th fight. It was at UFC 100 where Dan Henderson knocked him out. ‘The Count’s biggest payday came at UFC 217. Here he lost the Middleweight Title to the returning Georges St-Pierre. However, his appearance and the Reebok sponsorship saw his bank balance swell by over half a million.
6. Georges St-Pierre ($7 million)
The Canadian retired almost a year back. He had humble beginnings in the UFC, taking home 4 digit figures in each of his first 3 fights in 2004. However, he ended his career in style. He raked in $2,580,000 in his comeback and final fight at UFC 217 in 2017. GSP submitted ‘The Count’ and became the 4th man to hold titles in 2 different weight divisions.
7. Jon Jones ($7 million)
The top-ranked pound for pound fighter has the most wins in UFC title fights. He earned a paltry $12,000 in his debut fight with the company. As per MMA Daily, ‘Bones’ biggest payday came at UFC 214. Here he beat Daniel Cormier to retain the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship and earned $ 580,000. The 32-year-old took home $540,000 at UFC 247. The polarizing result of the fight has led to calls for a rematch. This may cause ‘Bones’ biggest payday to date and see him overtake ‘GSP.’
8. Mark Hunt ($6.3 Million)
His stock rose after the UFC 200 fight with Brock Lesnar. The Heavyweight fought 5 times after the event. He pocketed over $700,000 on each occasion. However, UFC Fight Night Lewis vs Hunt resulted in his biggest payday. ‘The Super Samoan’ banked $810,000 and won the fight via TKO.
9. Donald Cerrone ($6.1 million)
‘The Cowboy’ has 6 fights remaining on his new deal with the UFC. He fought 34 times in the UFC but features in the list largely due to his $ 2,20,000 at UFC 246. Here, ‘Notorious’ beat him in 40 seconds. The Lightweight’s earlier top payday pales in comparison to his latest one. He earned $450,000 in 2019 when he beat Alexander Hernandez.
10. Junior dos Santos ($5.9 million)
The 4th ranked Heavyweight fighter joined the company in 2008. He competed 21 times and has raked in a 6 figure sum on 16 different occasions. ‘Cigano’s biggest payday came at UFC 211. He earned $830,000 in his unsuccessful attempt in recapturing the UFC Heavyweight Championship against Stipe Miocic.
11. Daniel Cormier ($5.7 million)
Daniel Cormier made his UFC debut at the age of 34. As per a Sports Daily article, he earned $126,000 in his first fight. ($63,000 each to show up and a win bonus). ‘DC’ has become one of the biggest draws in the Heavyweight division. He has taken home in excess of $500,000 in each of his last 7 fights. DC’s biggest payday was at UFC 214. Here he lost the Light Heavyweight Championship. However, he was reinstated as ‘Bones’ tested positive for steroids.
12. Vitor Belfort ($5.4 million)
‘The Phenom’ pocketed $130,000 in a win over Randy Couture in 2004. However, his biggest payday came a decade later when he pocketed a career-high $5,60,000 at the UFC Fight Night: Belfort vs Henderson 3. The 43-year-old Brazilian is currently signed to ONE Championship but hasn’t fought yet. His last fight with the UFC was against Machida. He pocketed $315,000 for his efforts at UFC 224.
13. Andrei Arlovski ($5.4 million)
Andrei Arlovski has earned in excess of this sum. However, these are considered his official earnings as UFC purses were not made public until UFC 46. ‘The Pitbull’ had 5 fights before this. He took home $20,000 at UFC 47 after beating Wesley Correira. The fighter’s stock has risen in the company in recent years. He has taken home $320,000 in each of his last 6 fights. These have gone a long way in propelling him to the 13th spot on the list.
14. Brock Lesnar ($5 million)
The figures reported about Brock Lesnar’s salary while competing in the Octagon vary. However, all of them are in excess of $5 million. He fought 9 times in his MMA career. The Heavyweight makes the list primarily due to his standalone appearance at UFC 200. Here he beat Mark Hunt and earned a massive payday for his efforts. As per this tweet, it is confirmed that almost half of Lesnar’s career earnings came from his one-off fight.
Brock Lesnar's purse tonight is $2.5 million
— Kevin Iole (@KevinI) July 9, 2016
15. Nate Diaz ($4.8 million)
The younger Diaz is on the list primarily due to his clashes with the ‘Notorious.’ He has entered the Octagon 25 times and taken home a cool $4.8 million. ‘The Stockton Slugger’ makes the list primarily due to his big-money fight against Conor McGregor in 2016. He became the first man to beat ‘Notorious’ at UFC to set up the fight which saw him take home $2,070,000. The sum is almost half of his career earnings. ‘The Stockton Slugger’ last entered the Octagon for the BMF Title Fight against Jorge Masvidal. As per an MMA Breakdown report, he pocketed $520,000 from the event.
Some of the other Highest Earners in the UFC
|16||Mauricio Rua||$ 4.7 million|
|17||Rashad Evans||$ 4.7 million|
|18||Lyoto Machida||$ 4.5 million|
|19||Frankie Edgar||$ 4.5 million|
|20||Stipe Miocic||$ 4.4 million|
|21||Dan Henderson||$ 4.4 million|
|22||Chuck Liddel||$ 4.3 million|
|23||Ronda Rousey||$ 4.2 million|
|24||Jose Aldo||$ 4.2 million|
|25||Tyron Woodley||$ 4.1 million|
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