Highest Paid UFC Fighters: The Richest MMA Athletes

MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) has been one of the fastest-rising sports in terms of popularity in recent years. 

But, how much do these MMA fighters make in the UFC and who is the highest paid UFC fighter? 

For our top picks for the highest paid UFC fighters in the world, we looked at how much they earn annually, their highest-paid fights, and their bonuses.

Let’s dive in.

Top 10 UFC Highest paid fighters

Conor McGregor

  • Country: Ireland 
  • Age: 33 years 
  • Total UFC earnings: $15.08 million
  • Fights won/belts: 22 wins, 6 losses, 2 UFC championship belts

Connor McGregor is the most popular and the highest paid UFC fighter in the world.

Although his last performance, where he lost by TKO against Dustin “The Diamond” Poirier, wasn’t his best fight, he still raked in £3.61 million— and that’s before PPV (Pay-Per-View) sales.

Still, his biggest payout wasn’t in UFC –McGregor’s most profitable bout was his boxing match against one of the richest boxers Floyd Mayweather. According to reporters, he was initially promised $30 million but ended up walking away with $85 million. 

Alistair Overeem

  • Country: The Netherlands 
  • Age: 41 years 
  • Total UFC earnings: $9.57 million
  • Fights won/belts: 47 wins, 19 losses, 1 no contest, K-1 Champion, Dream Champion, PRIDE Champion

Alistair Overeem is one of the highest paid UFC fighters, despite never having won a belt.

Overeem has competed in a number of MMA organisations, though he is best known for his time in the UFC, where he took part in a total of 16 fights.

Although that number might not be as high as expected, the MMA fighter is one of the most active in the MMA world. He has fought more than 60 times across different MMA organisations and has an impressive win-loss record. 

In 2021, he was scheduled to fight for the GLORY Kickboxing Heavyweight title against the reigning champion Rico Verhoeven, but he withdrew from the title fight due to an undisclosed injury. The fight is yet to be rescheduled. 

Khabib Nurmagomedov

  • Country: Dagestan, Russia 
  • Age: 33 years
  • Total UFC earnings: $8.68 million 
  • Fights won/belts: 29 wins, 0 losses, UFC Lightweight Championship belt

Khabib “The Eagle” Nurmagomedov is an undefeated UFC fighter with a record of 29 wins and a UFC Lightweight Championship title under his belt. 

Not only did Nurmagomedov beat every fighter he has faced, but he also has never lost a round throughout his entire MMA career and has the most wins of any MMA fighter that, like him, have retired undefeated. 

His most popular matches were against McGregor and Dusting Poirier. He reportedly earned over $6,000,000 in the bout against Poirier and $2,540,000 in the fight against McGregor.

Nurmagomedov reportedly pocketed around $5,000,000 for his bout with Justin Gaethje (who he beat) at UFC 254.

Anderson Silva

  • Country: Brazil 
  • Age: 46 years
  • Total UFC earnings: $8.11 million 
  • Fights won/belts: 34 wins, 11 losses, 1 no contest, UFC Middleweight Championship belt

Anderson Silva is one of the best MMA fighters that has ever stepped into a ring.

During his long MMA career, Silva broke several records inside the UFC, so it comes as no surprise that he is one of the highest earning UFC fighters in the history of the sport. 

The Middleweight GOAT’s highest-earning fight was at UFC 208 against Derek Brunson where he earned a sum of $820,000. His first bout in UFC earned him $66,000 and he even managed to land a six-digit figure by his fourth match.

Silva eventually retired from the UFC but he still holds the record for the longest consecutive win streak in UFC’s Middleweight division (13 wins).

Michael Bisping

Photo source: https://mmajunkie.usatoday.com/2018/05/michael-bisping-ufc-career-statistics-after-retirement
  • Country: United Kingdom 
  • Age: 42 years 
  • Total UFC earnings: $7.14 million 
  • Fights won/belts: 30 wins, 9 losses, The Ultimate Fighter Season 3 Winner, UFC Middleweight Championship belt

Michael “The Count” Bisping was The Ultimate Fighter season 3 winner, but he was never one of the favourites.

He became champion after accepting a short notice fight against then-champion Luke Rockhold –a match that helped put him on the list of the highest paid UFC athletes.

Bisping also made a whopping $540,000 in the fight against Georges St-Pierre in 2017– his biggest payday in the UFC– despite losing the fight via technical submission.

The MMA fighter retired the next year due to an eye injury and became a colour analyst in the UFC

Although he didn’t have the most memorable MMA career, he was the first British fighter to compete in a UFC main event and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2019.

Georges St-Pierre

  • Country: Canada 
  • Age: 40 years 
  • Total UFC earnings: $37.04 million 
  • Fights won/belts: 26 wins, 2 losses, 2 UFC Championship Belts at Welterweight and Middleweight

Georges Saint Pierre is one of the most dominant UFC Welterweight champions and is largely considered to be a GOAT in the world of UFC.

He retired as the reigning welterweight champion in 2013, returned to defeat Michael Bisping and won the middleweight championship in 2017, and made himself the fourth fighter to become a multi-division champion in UFC history. 

His biggest payout was the much-hyped fight against “The Count,” when he drew in a seven-figure.

Jon Jones

  • Country: United States 
  • Age: 34 years 
  • Total UFC earnings: $7.03 million 
  • Fights won/belts: 26 wins, 1 loss, 1 no contest, UFC Light-Heavyweight Championship belt

The former light heavyweight and pound-for-pound champion has had a controversial MMA career. 

His biggest payday was at UFC 214 against Daniel Cormier where he retained his LHW title and took $580,000. The CSAC (California State Athletic Commission) eventually overturned his victory and declared it a no-contest.

His only loss in MMA was the fight against Matt Hamill at The Ultimate Fighter Heavyweights Finale back in December 2009. Jones was disqualified after the judges ruled that he threw several 12-to-6 downward elbows strikes, which are illegal in MMA.

He was later suspended for breaking USADA’s anti-doping policy after he tested positive for banned substances.

Mark Hunt

Photo source: https://www.tapology.com/fightcenter/fighters/mark-hunt-super-samoan
  • Country: New Zealand
  • Age: 47 years
  • Total UFC earnings: $6.30 million
  • Fights won/belts: 13 wins, 14 losses, 1 draw, and 1 no contest

Although he may not look like some of the most jacked MMA fighters or most jacked football players, Mark Hunt is one of the most famous fighters of all time, and not just in MMA.

He made a name for himself in K-1, as a kickboxer, where he won the World Grand Prix in 2001. He switched to MMA after a couple of years.

The largest addition to Mark Hunt’s draw (and his only win) was his fight against Derrick Lewis, which earned him $810,000, a Fight of the Night bonus, and a deal with Reebok.

Arguably, his most popular bout was against Brock Lesnar at UFC 200, which he lost. The results were eventually overturned to a no-contest after Lesnar tested positive for banned substances.

Hunt hasn’t fought in MMA since 2018 since he sued the UFC over the organisation’s handling of his match against Lesnar.

Donald Cerrone

  • Country: United States 
  • Age: 38 years 
  • Total UFC earnings: $6.16 million 
  • Fights won/belts: 36 wins, 16 losses, 2 no contests, WEC lightweight Championship belt

Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone became an instant-fan favourite from the moment he stepped into the octagon. 

In addition to winning the most Fight of the Night bonuses in UFC history, what made Cerrone stand out from the crowd was that he was one of the most active UFC fighters on the roster – he has fought over 50 bouts and recorded a total of 36 victories.

Although he has been in the UFC for nearly a decade, Cerrone landed his biggest payday in 2020 in the match against McGregor. Despite losing in around 40 seconds, he earned more than $200,000 from that bout.

Junior dos Santos

Photo source: https://www.mmafighting.com/2021/3/19/22338881/junior-dos-santos-stunned-ufc-coldness-releasing-him-they-just-dont-care
  • Country: Brazil 
  • Age: 37 years 
  • Total UFC earnings: $5.97 million 
  • Fights won/belts: 21 wins, 9 losses, UFC Heavyweight Championship belt

Junior dos Santos is a veteran heavyweight champion known for his blistering knockouts and a sizable fan base.

He debuted in UFC in 2008 in a match against Fabricio Werdum, which he won, and by the end of his MMA career, dos Santos recorded an impressive 21 wins and only 9 losses.

His highest-paid fight was against Stipe Miocic for the Heavyweight Championship where he earned around $830,000.

After retiring from MMA, he has dabbled with professional wrestling and is currently competing for boxing titles.

Bottom Line

MMA is one of the most exciting and fun sports to watch, with a growing fan base –  which generally means higher payouts for its UFC stars. For now, top UFC fighters usually earn $500,000 and $3,000,000 per fight in the highest tier, though the highest paid UFC fighters can make much more, especially from highly-anticipated bouts.

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