UFC PPV numbers have risen considerably over the years. We've seen many great fights on PPV, but the truth is that there are only a few real box office draws. Now when we think of box office draws in UFC, the following names come to mind: Conor McGregor, Brock Lesnar, Ronda Rousey, Georges St. Pierre, and even superstars such as Chuck Lidell and Anderson Silva, among others.
The first three mentioned have shattered the one million PPV limit and are considered among the biggest draws in the sport. Conor McGregor has far surpassed Brock Lesnar in that regard, and you might be surprised to find that this list only involves one fight that isn't of McGregor.
There have been a total of 16 PPVs as of 2018 that have sold over one million PPVs. Without getting any further, let's look at the biggest PPV sales in UFC history!
#5 Eddie Alvarez vs Conor McGregor - UFC 205 - 1.3 million buys
UFC 205 was one of the most historic nights in the history of the company. Firstly, it was the very first UFC event in New York City, after the ban on MMA was finally lifted. It also happened to be at Madison Square Garden, the most iconic venue in the world.
After getting revenge on Nate Diaz, Featherweight Champion Conor McGregor attempted to become the first-ever double champion in UFC history.
He took on Eddie Alvarez in the third of three title matches in the event. He put on an absolute clinic, dominating the Lightweight Champion Eddie Alvarez from start to the finish in the second round.
He cemented his place in history by knocking out Alvarez and becoming the first-ever double champion. The PPV sales were actually considered disappointing given the stacked card and McGregor's status.
#4 Conor McGregor vs Nate Diaz I - UFC 196 - 1.5 million buys
The originally scheduled fight was a Lightweight title bout between then-champion Rafael Dos Anjos and Featherweight Champion Conor McGregor. Dos Anjos had to pull out with an injury and with 11 days notice, Diaz accepted the bout, but in Welterweight.
McGregor seemed invincible at the time, having just knocked out Featherweight King Jose Aldo in 13 seconds. However, Diaz would shock the world, finishing Conor McGregor in the second round via submission. They were far from finished with each other.
#3 Brock Lesnar vs Frank Mir 2 - UFC 100 - 1.6 Million buys
By the time UFC 100 had come, Brock Lesnar was the reigning UFC Heavyweight Champion. Frank Mir provided Lesnar his first UFC and MMA loss in UFC 81, and Lesnar had a big chance at redemption.
In the blockbuster card and main event, Lesnar managed to finish Mir in the second round via TKO. He had avenged his only defeat up to that point.
#2 Conor McGregor vs Nate Diaz 2 - UFC 202 - 1.65 million buys
The most anticipated rematch in UFC history didn't need any titles on the line. They were originally scheduled for UFC 200, but due to Conor McGregor's refusal to attend certain press conferences, UFC decided to set an example and pull the fight from the card.
They were shifted to UFC 202, and it didn't seem to hamper PPV sales at all. They had their rematch at Welterweight, as McGregor only thought it to be fair that he beat Nate Diaz at the weight that Diaz beat him.
The build-up saw a lot of tension between the two and they gave everything they had in a five-round war, a fight that turned out to be an instant classic. This time, it went the distance and McGregor avenged his loss with a majority decision.
The rematch will undoubtedly shatter this number as well.
#1 Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Conor McGregor - UFC 229 - 2.4 million PPV buys
If McGregor vs Diaz was the most anticipated rematch in UFC history, then Khabib vs Conor was the most anticipated fight in UFC history, period. You're probably familiar with the story behind Khabib and Conor.
At UFC 223, Khabib got into a dispute with Conor McGregor's training partner and fellow-UFC fighter Artem Lobov over something that Lobov had said against Khabib.
This led McGregor and his crew to fly to New York and throw a dolly on the bus containing Khabib and several other fighters on the card. Khabib captured the UFC Lightweight title that weekend, and the build to the fight between he and Conor was nothing short of tense.
McGregor did his usual schtick, getting nasty and personal. What he didn't realize was that getting inside someone's head is a two-edged sword.
It turned out to be lethal for McGregor, as he found himself getting absolutely decimated by Khabib throughout the fight (winning one round, but barely). He would lose the fight by submission, and the post-fight incident is something that requires extensive coverage in an article of its own.
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