The UFC has hosted extensive pay-per-view (PPV) events over the past couple of decades. However, which events stand out as the highest-earning in history? Numerous renowned fighters, such as Conor McGregor, Brock Lesnar, Jorge Masvidal, and others, have taken the spotlight in the top 10 all-time shows and registered their name in the Top 5 UFC PPV buys.
The UFC has solidified its presence as a significant player in combat sports, consistently rivalling boxing regarding audience numbers and pay-per-view figures. Dana White, the president of the UFC, has spearheaded a revolutionary transformation in the promotion, establishing its dominance in mixed martial arts (MMA) and ensuring that high-quality matchups are consistently arranged, regardless of political considerations.
Below is the comprehensive list of the top ten most significant UFC pay-per-view events of all time, ordered based on their pay-per-view purchases and revenue, with the latter metric not adjusted for inflation. Let’s check the list of the Top 5 UFC PPV buys.
- UFC 100: Lesnar vs. Mir II: 1,600,000 PPV Buys – $82 million
- UFC 257: McGregor v Poirier 2: 1,600,000 PPV Buys – $100 million
- UFC 202: Diaz vs. McGregor II: 1,650,000 PPV Buys – $90 million
- UFC 264: Poirier v McGregor 3: 1,800,000 PPV Buys – $120 million
- UFC 229: Nurmagomedov vs. McGregor: 2,400,000 PPV Buys – $180 million
UFC 100: Lesnar vs. Mir II: 1,600,000 PPV Buys – $82 million
At UFC 100, the main event featured Brock Lesnar seeking redemption against Frank Mir, aiming to avenge his initial loss in his debut UFC appearance. This fight is undoubtedly on our list of Top 5 UFC PPV buys due to the insane fighting display between these two fighters. Lesnar, a consistently impactful pay-per-view star throughout his career, once again delivered an impressive performance by securing redemption with a second-round knockout victory. This event stood out as the most-watched in the promotion’s history, predating the era of McGregor.
Upon Lesnar’s entrance into the UFC, he became a significant star, and his intense rivalry with Mir brought newfound attention to the thriving heavyweight division. Their second encounter garnered substantial publicity, surpassing even the interest generated by their initial clash. Many eagerly anticipated whether ‘The Next Big Thing’ could successfully seek revenge, and the eventual win was recognised as one of the highlights of Lesnar’s remarkable career. The fight between Lesnar vs Mir II makes this fight one of the top Top 5 UFC PPV buys.
UFC 257: McGregor v Poirier 2: 1,600,000 PPV Buys – $100 million
One of the Top 5 UFC PPV buys was of McGregor and Poirier. McGregor reignited his feud with ‘The Diamond’ to settle their differences conclusively. Contrary to his intentions, the high-stakes event took a dramatic turn for ‘The Notorious,’ as the resilient American halted him in the second round.
Despite this setback, McGregor was determined to avenge the defeat swiftly, recognising the substantial success that anything against Dustin Poirier would bring in terms of gate attendance, pay-per-view figures, and overall revenue. His unparalleled drawing power for the UFC persisted, even in the face of a challenging trilogy for the former champion, during which his performance experienced a downturn. Therefore, this bout is one of the Top 5 UFC PPV buys.
UFC 202: Diaz vs. McGregor II: 1,650,000 PPV Buys – $90 million
Again, McGregor headlined a colossal pay-per-view buy rate in one of the company’s most significant rematch events. The anticipation surrounding the about was immense, particularly because McGregor had suffered an unexpected defeat in their initial encounter. However, he made a sensational comeback, securing a comfortable points victory over his longstanding rival and returning to the winning track.
The likelihood of a third meeting between McGregor and Diaz was widely discussed, and it could still materialise if Diaz successfully negotiates a return to the UFC after temporarily leaving for a boxing match against Jake Paul. Discussions about a trilogy have been prevalent, driven by the substantial revenue and audience size generated by the two previous high-profile events. Dana White explored the possibility several times, but the chances have diminished with Diaz having left the promotion. Nonetheless, McGregor remains open to the idea, acknowledging that it might occur in an alternative setting, such as in the boxing ring. Therefore, the fight between Diaz and McGregor is one of the Top 5 UFC PPV buys.
UFC 264: Poirier v McGregor 3: 1,800,000 PPV Buys – $120 million
McGregor’s third encounter with Poirier became a complete catastrophe despite the considerable excitement surrounding the event following the former double champion’s impressive performance in their previous rematch. This about became a pivotal moment in the Irishman’s career, starting well before he suffered a devastating leg injury, falling backwards in a shocking turn of events. Check out McGregor’s next fight, in which he will return to UFC.
The fight was halted, and at present, McGregor faces a significant rebuilding phase, contemplating a return to either boxing or the UFC after being sidelined for two years due to the injury. The animosity between Poirier and McGregor still lingers, and the possibility of a fourth showdown remains uncertain, especially as both fighters approach the latter stages of their careers. Supremacy of McGregor makes this fight one of the Top 5 UFC PPV buys.
UFC 229: Nurmagomedov vs. McGregor: 2,400,000 PPV Buys – $180 million
The most significant pay-per-view event in UFC history featured Khabib Nurmagomedov defending his UFC Lightweight Championship against McGregor. It’s likely a considerable amount of time, if not indefinitely, before we witness another event surpassing the magnitude of this particular card. Headlined by arguably the most iconic rivalry in the promotion’s history, it solidified its place as a historic and unparalleled spectacle. This is the most exciting and loved fight in the Top 5 UFC PPV buys list.
McGregor displayed immense courage in confronting his undefeated rival, engaging in a bitter feud that intensified each month. However, he succumbed to the Russian’s elite wrestling skills and was submitted. Despite the event’s massive success, the anticipation for a sequel was dampened by the unsavoury post-fight brawl involving the teams. Subsequently, Nurmagomedov retired, leaving McGregor without the opportunity for redemption against the Russian. The insane fight between these two fighters on and off the ring makes this fight one of the Top 5 UFC PPV buys. Check out the full story behind Khabib and McGregor fight.