October 1 2018
By: Christopher Henderson
It’s almost here, just days away from arguably the biggest fight in the history of Mixed Martial Arts. Sure there’s been some big fight’s through the 25 year history of the UFC but none that has grabbed the public’s attention quite like Conor McGregor vs Khabib Nurmagomedov.
McGregor is that rare athlete that has the ability to make the world tune in when he fight’s. Much like his former foe, Floyd Mayweather, McGregor is generally either loved or hated without much in between. It’s that love-hate connection with the fans that allows “The Notorious One” to generate numbers unseen before in MMA.
McGregor has headlined five PPV events for the UFC beginning with UFC 189 in July 2015 when he faced Chad Mendes. That card drew 825,000 buys and the Irishman has only gotten bigger. The last four events that McGregor has been part of are 4 of the 5 biggest selling of all time with UFC 202: McGregor/Diaz 2 (1.6M) being number 1, the first fight, UFC 196, (1.32M) between the two is at number 2 and McGregor’s fight against Alvarez, UFC 205 (1.3M) is number 3. UFC 100 (1.25M) is at number 4, while UFC 194: McGregor vs Aldo (1.2M) is number 5.
McGregor also has 5 out of 7 of the biggest live gates in UFC history as well. UFC 229 is already sitting at number 2 all time behind the McGregor/Alvarez bout at Madison Square Garden for UFC 205. Interestingly enough, McGregor is also half of the second largest gate in boxing history along with the aforementioned Mayweather.
To put it simple, Conor McGregor equals big money for the UFC period and it’s why they recently gave him a record breaking extension on his contract. His return really couldn’t have come at a better time as the promotion has struggled to generate solid numbers without the former two division champion.
Not only is he returning but he’s also facing the one guy that most believe can beat him. Nurmagomedov is undefeated throughout his professional career and has what many feel is the perfect style to give McGregor fits.
Again, cha-ching! With McGregor supporters already assured to watch, it’s the perfect strategy to make tons of his haters hit that buy button. Gotta see him get beat live, right? Just like they did for the rematch between him and Diaz.
And, if he wins? Then it’s on to the next big payday, which is likely to come against either welterweight champion Tyron Woodley or legendary all time great Georges St. Pierre. A possible third fight with Diaz also will likely come at some time during McGregor’s new 8 fight extension. One thing’s for sure, whoever his opponent is, it’ll sell and sell big.
While I’ll save my actual fight prediction till the customary end of the week preview piece, I will give one forecast of what I believe will happen this weekend; UFC 229 shatters the record for PPV buys as it clears the 2 million buys number.