UFC, the face of MMA, provides a platform that helps the best fighters in the business build their legacies and earn fortunes of a lifetime. MMA has become one of the most popular sports in the world, and its global following has seen exponential growth, especially in recent years, thanks to the UFC.
Five richest UFC fighters:
Many great fighters have earned big bucks in the UFC, their charismatic personalities helping them garner huge pay-per-view numbers. Some of these fighters have also gone on to earn endorsements and deals that have made them even richer.
On that note, let's take a look at five of the richest UFC fighters and what their net worth looks like in 2021.
#5 BJ Penn ($22 million)
BJ Penn is widely considered as one of the most prominent practitioners of Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu. The American mixed martial artist is the first non-Brazillian winner in the World Jiu-Jitsu Championship (black belt).
A former UFC Lightweight and Welterweight Champion, BJ Penn became only the second fighter in UFC history to win titles in two different weight divisions. He also went on to become a coach in the 'The Ultimate Fighter 5' reality show.
BJ Penn has been credited by UFC President Dana White for bringing the lower weight divisions into the mainstream. He is considered one of the greatest fighters ever in the history of UFC.
He broke UFC's all-time title defence record for the lightweight title, staying undefeated for over eight years. Penn was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame in 2015 and has also earned roles in the 2009 film Never Surrender and the TV series Hawaii Five-0.
#4 Brock Lesnar ($25 million)
Brock Lesnar, who is probably better known for his time in the WWE, has earned a lot of accolades in the UFC. After leaving the WWE in 2004, Brock Lesnar spent some time wrestling in Japan before starting his stint with the UFC in 2007.
He performed well and rose to fame in the next few years, despite injuries, before becoming the undisputed UFC Heavyweight champion. In the process of becoming one of the richest UFC fighters, Lesnar brought the UFC some of its highest-selling pay-per-view events in the history of the promotion.
As of 2021, Brock Lesnar is the only fighter to simultaneously hold a UFC championship title and a WWE world championship belt. He is one of the most decorated personalities in combat sports history.
Brock Lesnar's pay in his UFC 200 bout against Mark Hunt was revealed to be as much as $2.5 million, more than three times that of the next highest-paid fighter on the card.
The 42-year-old owns a collection of luxurious cars, which includes Alfa Romeo, Range Rover, Mercedes Benz and Jaguar. He had reportedly sold off his rural Minneapolis residence for $750,000 and currently lives in a $2.1 million-worth house in Canada.
#3 George St-Pierre ($30 million)
Nicknamed 'GSP', George St-Pierre is regarded as one of the best and most balanced fighters in combat sports history. As the reigning Welterweight champion, GSP first retired from UFC in 2013 after winning the most title bouts in promotion history.
However, the Canadian mixed martial artist returned to UFC in 2017, beating Michael Bisping to claim the middleweight championship. Soon after becoming only the fourth multi-division champion in UFC history, GSP announced his retirement from the sport in 2020.
One of the most decorated fighters in UFC history, George St-Pierre, was named the Canadian Athlete of the Year in 2010. Ten years later, he was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame.
At UFC 158, 950,000 PPV buys were generated, so GSP would have earned a minimum of $2.85 million in PPV bonuses alone. UFC President Dana White has said that at UFC 158, St-Pierre earned close to $5 million that night. And that was back in 2013.
Imagine the earnings St-Pierre must have picked up in recent years against bigger fighters like Michael Bisping.
Georges St-Pierre bolstered his net worth with a number of big brand endorsements too. He signed up with brands like Under Armour, NOS - a Coca-Cola owned energy drink, Hayaboosa, EA and Bacardi, among others.
Factoring in his endorsements, GSP earned something between $1-2 million per fight, additionally. With all of his income sources taken into account, George St-Pierre earned about $12-15 million per year at the peak of his UFC career.
#2 Khabib Nurmagomedov ($40 Million)
After making his UFC debut in 2012, Khabib Nurmagomedov has made a fortune through fighting.
The Eagle's total career earnings are estimated to be $14.77 million - a major chunk of which he has earned from his last three fights (Conor McGregor, Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje).
Nurmagomedov started off earning $32,000 for appearance plus the same amount for winning his fight against Rafael dos Anjos in 2014. He soon moved up to earning $135,000 in the fight against Darrell Horcher and $170,000 against Michael Johnson in 2016.
Progressing through his UFC career unbeaten, Khabib Nurmagomedov soon jumped up to $530,000 for beating Al Iaquinta in 2018. One can only guess how much he made by fighting Conor McGregor.
After beating 'The Notorious' in 2018, Khabib Numagomedov took home a jackpot of $1.54 million. That included $2 million for showing up, plus a $40,000 bonus. However, a fine of $500,000 for his post-fight brawl was deducted from his purse later on.
By defeating Dustin Poirier in 2019, Khabib Nurmagomedov earned upwards of $6 million and a similar amount for beating Justin Gaethje a year later. Khabib Nurmagomedov has also signed up with brands like Gorilla Energy, Reebok, SalamPay, etc., taking his net worth to $40 million as of 2021.
#1 Conor McGregor ($120 Million)
Conor McGregor is truly the king of the bucks in the UFC. The Irishman's total UFC earnings to date amount to $115 million approximately.
If one breaks down Conor McGregor's 2020 earnings alone, it comes to $32 million in salary and winnings. When his earnings through endorsements with brands like EA, Reebok, Burger King, Beats by Dre, Monster, etc., are taken into account, that adds another $16 million to his kitty, taking his total earnings for the year to a whopping $48 million.
Conor McGregor's deal with Reebok earns him $5 million per year. Moreover he, has his own brands like The Mac Life, a fashion brand called August McGregor and fitness brand McGregor FAST. Moreover, as revealed by McGregor himself, his whiskey brand Proper Twelve made $1 billion in sales in the first year itself.
His 'Money Fight' was one of the highest-selling PPV events of all time in combat sports history, generating somewhere around 4.3 million buys. McGregor earned north of $100 million for that fight, courtesy guarantees, merchandise royalties, concessions and bonuses.
If 50% of McGregor's earnings are deducted because of taxes, $100 million of gross earnings would have left 'The Notorious One' with a net worth of $85 million after the 'Money Fight'.
Conor McGregor was ranked No. 16 on Forbes' 2020 list of the world's highest-paid athletes.
It was the Irishman's fifth straight year in the top 100. In short, McGregor has built a kingdom while fighting, one which is way bigger than any of his counterparts. McGregor had put out a tweet in this regard: