Ultimate Fighting Championship is the worldwide leader in mixed martial arts for a good reason; Their marketing team can make chicken salad out of chicken… you know. However, every once and a while there comes a charismatic star that is bound for greatness no matter the platform they perform on. Ronda Rousey helped elevate the UFC brand in 2013 and 2014. Fans got to see Jon “Bones” Jones rise to stardom and flawlessly defend the gold in 2014.
2016 didn’t just see one star dominate the playing field inside the octagon, however. Both Nate Diaz and Conor McGregor dominated the pay-per-view market with their intense rivalry that all kicked off at “UFC 196” in March. The fight was thrown together with less than three weeks notice and the two still crushed all pay-per-view records with a buyrate of 1,317,000.
Just when fans thought they couldn’t do it again, Diaz and McGregor crushed their own record of 1,317,000 with 1,600,000 pay-per-view buys for their rematch at “UFC 202” just a few months later. Combined, Diaz and McGregor pulled in 2,917,000 buys with just two events.
Diaz felt as if the decision went the wrong way in the second fight and UFC President Dana White forbid the fight from happening a third time. McGregor’s quest for gold wasn’t done yet, however, and McGregor went on to set the third biggest PPV buyrate of the year opposite of Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205 with an estimated 1,300,000 buys.
If McGregor comes back to the lightweight division with the gold strapped around his waist, Diaz could be in line and they may just break their own record all over again.