It’s been a long time coming and the only person more prepared than the fans is the man himself as the one and only Conor McGregor returns to the Octagon for the first time in a year in the UFC 257 main event this weekend.
The former two-division UFC champ will take on Dustin Poirier in a fight that could decide the next lightweight title challenger, with the salivating prospect of another rebel-retiree in Khabib Nurmagomedov on the horizon for the victor. It took McGregor just over 90 second to drop Poirier all the way back in their first face-to-face back in September 2014, but the Notorious has assured it won’t take him as long this time.
In the six and a half years since his punishment of Poirier, McGregor’s star has risen ridiculously rapidly, fallen, and begun to shine brightly again. One thing isn’t in question: he brings the entertainment. Negative attention is still attention, in the words of the Irishman. As expected, he also features prominently in the highest-earning fighters to contest in the sport, and features in the Top 10 MMA fighters with the highest earnings per strike in illuminating new research produced by Bonus, which has asked the intriguing question, the best MMA fighters can earn millions of dollars from their fights in the ring, but just how much do the world’s biggest stars make for every strike that they land on their opponent?
New research has looked at 30 of the highest-earning fights in MMA history and divided the estimated earnings for each fighter by the number of strikes that they landed on their opponent during the fight to reveal the highest-earning fighters per strike. McGregor features four times in the top 10 fights, earning £57,750 per strike in his 2016 fight against Eddie Alvarez, £24,618 per strike in his 2018 fight against Khabib Nurmagomedov (who himself bagged £14,808 for each of his astonishing 157 hits in the win) and £11,726 in his 2016 match against Nate Diaz.
José Aldo was paid just over £300,000 for his 2015 fight at UFC 194 with McGregor, but landed just a single strike on his opponent, getting knocked out in just 13 seconds. In the same fight, McGregor was paid £385k and landed five blows on Aldo, meaning he earned a whopping £77k per strike he inflicted on the Brazilian as he hit the canvas. Meanwhile, Brock Lesnar made a handsome £23,692 per strike in his 2010 defeat to Cain Velasquez.
But that figure is almost completely obliterated by the only woman to headline and win a championship in both the UFC and WWE. Topping the list by a considerable margin, Ronda Rousey’s return to the Octagon in 2016 might have been just a tad underwhelming, being knocked out in just 48 seconds by Amanda Nunes, but given that she was guaranteed to earn £2.3m for the fight, she still wound up making £330,000 for each of the seven strikes that she landed on Nunes! Not bad for a day’s work!