Most of the highest-earning UFC fighters from the current roster have tasted championship glory.
MMA fighters from distant corners of the world strive to get a chance to fight in the world's biggest MMA promotion. In terms of facilities and global exposure, athletes get the creme de la creme of the fight business in the UFC.
Fighters are also paid grand pay-cheques once they make it big, making the money in some other promotions look like chump change. Whilst one reason for this is the stature of the organization, the brand that the fighters create for themselves also plays a huge role in the money they make. There are a handful of fighters on the current UFC roster who are getting paid a fortune.
Here, we look at the five highest-earning UFC fighters from the current roster.
#5 - Deiveson Figuereido - $892,000
Former UFC flyweight champion Deiveson Figueiredo is one of the highest-earning UFC fighters on the current roster. He faced Brandon Moreno at UFC 263 for his third title defense but lost via submission in round three. However, the Brazilian still managed to earn a hefty amount despite the loss.
Figueiredo's purse for UFC 263 was reportedly $892,000, which included a base salary of $250,000, an estimated PPV payout of $600,000, and endorsements worth $42,000. In comparison, Brandon Moreno earned $382,000 for becoming the new flyweight champion.
'Deus Da Guerra' has earned the two biggest pay-outs of his MMA career against Brandon Moreno, with UFC 256 winning him $640,000. The Brazilian's total career earnings stand at around $2.3 million, making him one of the highest-earning UFC fighters from the current roster.
#4 - Nate Diaz - $1.1 million
Nate Diaz is one of the most popular fighters not just in the UFC, but also in MMA. The Stockton native entered the octagon at UFC 263 after a hiatus lasting almost two years, and reminded everyone why he is one of the highest-earning UFC fighters.
Diaz has fought five times in the last five years. With an average of one appearance a year, Diaz is still one of the highest-earning UFC fighters, thanks to his star-power. He earned a total of $2.7 million for the two fights against Conor McGregor in 2016. The 'Stockton Slugger' also picked up a pay-cheque of $520,000 for his BMF title loss against Jorge Masvidal at UFC 244.
At UFC 263, Nate Diaz and Leon Edwards fought in the UFC's first non-title and non-main event five-round fight and it was an absolute war. Despite losing all five rounds against 'Rocky', Diaz took home a whopping $1.1 million. In comparison, Edwards earned $191,000 for the win.
Nate Diaz can never stop being a "needle-mover", which is why he is one of the highest-earning UFC fighters who are still active.
Also read: 5 fighters who feel undervalued by the UFC.
#3 - Israel Adesanya - $1.4 million
In a little over three years since making his debut in the organization, Israel Adesanya has turned into a superstar and one of the highest-earning UFC fighters on the current roster. The middleweight champion has been cashing in on loaded pay-cheques for his title defenses, which he seems to have no problem winning.
'The Last Stylebender' went up against Marvin Vettori at UFC 263 for his third title defense and came out victorious after five rounds. Adesanya's fight purse was worth $1.4 million, which is a staggering amount when compared to his opponent's $132,000.
Israel Adesanya's base salary for UFC 263 was $750,000, while his PPV share reportedly amounted to $600,000. He also earned $42,000 in endorsements, taking his winnings to $1,392,000. Adesanya's career earnings, according to MMA salaries, stand at $7.6 million.
Expressing his aspirations to become the highest-earning UFC fighter, Israel Adesanya said ahead of his fight against Robert Whittaker-
"I’ll make that purse in MMA, guaranteed. I’ll make that purse in the UFC. You can make $100 million in the UFC. You don’t have to go to boxing."
#2 - Kamaru Usman - $1.5 million
UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman has established himself as one of the greatest welterweights in UFC history. 'The Nigerian Nightmare' is also one of the highest-earning UFC fighters.
Defeating Jorge Masvidal at UFC 261, Usman earned the biggest pay-cheque of his MMA career, worth $1.5 million. Along with a base-salary of $600,000, Kamaru Usman earned $850,000 in PPV payout, $50,000 as performance bonus and $42,000 in endorsements.
Usman has collected a total of $5.7 million in his last five matches, earning less than a million in only one fight. His career earnings stand at nearly $6 million. Based on some of his recent fight purses, Usman is clearly one of the highest-earning UFC fighters on the current roster.
#1 - Conor McGregor - $30 million
From winning a $60,000 Knockout of the Night bonus on his UFC debut to becoming the first fighter to earn a million dollars in salary, Conor McGregor is the highest-earning UFC fighter on the current roster.
'The Notorious' has always had the makings of a superstar, and his in-your-face persona and brash attitude has turned him into a brand that can sell anything. Owing to his strong pull among fight fans, he is even considered the poster boy of the UFC.
Starting from his first encounter against Nate Diaz at UFC 196 to his most recent loss against Dustin Poirier at UFC 257, Conor McGregor has bagged a whopping $18 million in fight earnings, without even considering the added PPV share he received for each event.
McGregor reportedly made around $30 million in total for his efforts against Donald Cerrone at UFC 246, including his share of the 1.3 million pay-per-view buys.
The Irishman also leads Forbes' list of Highest Paid Athletes in 2021, and is by a huge margin the highest-earning fighter in the UFC.