Daniel Cormier recently announced his retirement from the UFC after his defeat to Stipe Miocic at UFC 252.
The American heavyweight is a former two-division world champion as he held the heavyweight and the light heavyweight belts simultaneously. His contributions to the sport and the successful career he has left behind has made him one of the highest earning fighters in the UFC’s history.
Whilst the athletes who enter the octagon rely heavily on their endorsements and sponsorships away from the octagon, many of the UFC stars, past and present, have also earned millions from their appearance fees and fight bonuses from an event.
Here, Sportsmail list the top ten highest-earning fighters in the history of the UFC.
Daniel Cormier retired from the UFC after his defeat to Stipe Miocic in their trilogy bout
1. Conor McGregor – £9,155,293
The outspoken Irishman is by-far the most well-known UFC fighter of all-time. His cocky antics outside of the ring shot him to stardom, along with his impeccable knockout skills as he really played a huge part in shooting the UFC into the mainstream. And by being the most famous UFC fighter, that naturally makes you the best paid.
McGregor is a former featherweight and lightweight champions; two accolades he held at the same time as he continued to make UFC history through the past decade. He has headlines five of the six highest-earning UFC pay-per-view fights and his bout with Khabib Nurmagomedov drawn in 2.4million PPV buys – the most of any event ever.
Former UFC champion Conor McGregor is the highest earning UFC fighter of all time
His outlandish, larger than life persona has landed him huge endorsement deals outside of the octagon, such as his sponsorships with Beats by Dre, Monster Energy, Bud Light, Reebok, Rolls Royce, Nike and others, meaning his earnings outside of the UFC are much larger than his total career purse.
2. Alistair Overeem – £6,628,868
The Dutch fighter will forever be referred to as one of the greatest UFC fighters of all time. Despite always entering the octagon nowhere near his homeland, Overeem was always a fan favourite in the heavyweight division.
Surprisingly, despite making his fighting debut in 1999 and being a former Strikeforce heavyweight champion, DREAM heavyweight champion and K-1 World Grand Prix Champion, Overeem has never won a UFC title.
His longevity and persistence in the fighting world is much to admire, as it has been reported that he earns $800,000 for just entering the arena and over $1million for winning a fight.
Alistair Overeem has earned over £6m in his lengthy career in heavyweight fighting
3. Khabib Nurmagomedov – £6,610,362
Potentially the most feared and dangerous fighters in UFC history, Khabib Nurmagomedov boasts a perfect record in the UFC as the current lightweight champion.
Whilst hardcore fans were raving about the Russian in his early days, his shot to stardom and trip to the bank came at UFC 229 when he fought McGregor. Whilst that night will live long in the memory as he claimed the division belt, he also shrouded himself in controversy as he claimed the octagon walls second after his victory and attacked McGregor’s team. All hell broke lose and whilst he acted unprofessionally and harmfully, their saga became the biggest thing in UFC history.
Khabib is often thought of as the most talented fighter around, and it is possible that he could surpass McGregor for his fight earnings before he retires.
Khabib Nurmagomedov boasts a perfect UFC record and is the third highest earner in history
4. Anderson Silva – £6,177,653
The Brazilian middleweight is still signed to the UFC after he signed back in 2006 and is one of the remaining ‘old guard’ left still fighting.
He is a former middleweight champion and holds the record for a longest title reign in UFC history of 2,457 days. He remained the belt holder from 2006, when he won it at UFC 64, until 2013 when he lost to Chris Weidman at UFC 162.
UFC president Dana White, commentator Joe Rogan and many other respected analysts have called Silva the greatest mixed martial artist of all time.
Brazilian middleweight Anderson Silva holds the record for a longest title reign in UFC history
5. Michael Bisping – £5,433,623
Despite being one of the highest earners in the sport’s history, Bisping is not quite as much of a fan of the flashing cameras and fame as the others above.
Now retired, his route to stardom was hard-fought as he constantly had to put his body on the line to work his way up the rankings. He entered the ring 40 times throughout his career with 31 wins and was a fighter that often mixed opinion among the fans.
The peak of his career came late on in 2016, when he became the UFC welterweight champion after defeating Luke Rockhold. He managed to retain the title once before losing it to Georges St-Pierre in 2017.
Michael Bisping (right) pictured in action against Anderson Silva in London back in 2016
6. Georges St-Pierre – £5,358,992
The Canadian fighter is another legend of the sport, that has since retired, but comes up in many conversations over the greatest to step foot in the octagon.
Set to be inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame this year, St-Pierre had a total of 22 fights in the UFC and won numerous titles along the way.
St-Pierre is often referred to as a legend of the sport and is set to be inducted in Hall of Fame
The former welterweight and middleweight champion had his most profitable day in the aforementioned Bisping bout, where he attained the welterweight title but later vacated it and hasn’t entered the arena since.
7. Jon Jones – £4,935,960
The controversial light heavyweight star shot himself up the rankings at such a young age, hence why he ranks so highly on the earnings.
He is a two-time light heavyweight champion but first won it at just 23 years old as he beat Mauricio Rua at UFC 128 and has become the most prolific figure in the divisions history. He has the most title defenses, most wins, longest win streak, and most submission victories in the weight class.
Jon Jones is the UFC’s youngest ever champion but his career has suffered from controversies
However, it has not been smooth sailing for Jones as he has failed numerous drug tests throughout the past decade with one time being for cocaine use. He has also endured legal troubles after a hit-and-run conviction in 2015.
8. Mark Hunt – £4,798,195
The Samoan fighter is one of the most iconic individuals in UFC history for his pure power and ability to scare any of his opponents.
Retired in 2018, turned his hands to MMA after a few years in boxing and kick-boxing. When he signed with the UFC in 2010, fans enjoyed watching his style and he will always be remembered for his bout with Antonio Silva at UFC Fight Night 33. Despite the fight ending in a draw, both fighters won their win bonuses as it was such a fantastic promotion for the heavyweight division.
Despite attaining legend status with most fans, he bowed out from the sport in a less favourable fashion as he suffered four losses from his final five fighters before calling it a day.
Mark Hunt (left) is one of UFC’s most admired fighters – he retired from the sport in 2018
9. Donald Cerrone – £4,517,488
Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone is a fearless fighter who has racked up quite the career in the UFC.
Known for fighting anyone, any time, he has a total of 36 victories and managed to fit in five fights in one year back in 2011.
The lightweight has managed two fights in 2020 which both ended in defeat to Conor McGregor and Anthony Pettis.
Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone is known for fighting regularly – he had five bouts in 2011
10. Daniel Cormier – £4,358,259
Daniel Cormier, much like Michael Bisping, is one of the hardest working fighters the UFC has ever seen.
The heavyweight amounted 22 wins and three losses in his career, as he recently threw in the towel after his defeat to Stipe Miocic at UFC 252. It is no surprise that he ranked in the top ten all-time earners in the sport, having held both the heavyweight and light heavyweight championship belts during his career.
His saga with Jon Jones was by far the rubber stamp on his career as a great, because despite losing both fights their rivalry was one for the ages. However, after their second fight, that Jones won, Cormier was handed his lightweight title back after his opponent tested positive for an anabolic steroid.
Daniel Cormier recently announced his retirement after a successful UFC career
Source: Read Full Article