The UFC and MMA attract talent across all organizations, and fighters practice an art they enjoy. But being an MMA or UFC fighter takes endurance and risk. Athletes put their lives on the line, practicing tactics that can be dangerous. Everything has a price behind the package.
The type of compensation UFC fighters receive for every fight is worth it. In addition to salaries, the most successful UFC and MMA athletes receive large sums of money from sponsorships, pay-per-view (PPV) discounts, bonuses, and more. Here are the 10 highest paid UFC and MMA fighters of 2022.
Who are the 10 highest paid UFC and MMA fighters in 2022?
According to holy grail of sport, top fighters earn a share of referrals and PPV purchases. Athletes also receive additional bonuses which may not match the amount published here.
However, the details here capture an almost accurate picture. Earnings may differ from fight to fight, but here is the information reported on fighter salaries:
10. Donald Cerrone: $7,025,800
Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone was never a champion. However, the 39-year-old’s consistency and effort in the UFC has propelled him among the top earners in his class. Cerrone has one of the highest fight records in the UFC at 36-16-0.
While his total salary is $7,025,800, the athlete received a good chunk of his PPV and undisclosed bonuses.
9. Jon Jones: $7,230,000
Jon Jones is one of the youngest champions in the UFC after winning the light heavyweight championship in a fight against Dominick Reyes in 2020. His February 9, 2022 event at Toyota Center earned Jones as much as 500,000 $, minus his bonus check and $40,000 salary.
The nearly undefeated American superstar has since earned as much as $7,230,000 in his career – and that’s excluding PPV and locker room bonuses.
8. George St-Pierre: $7,037,000
Since entering the octagon in 2002, George St-Pierre has been one of MMA’s top athletes. However, he never received high PPV cuts, given that most of his fights covered distance. In 2017, St-Pierre’s fight against Michael Bisping changed his career.
The Canadian’s total earnings minus PPV cuts and other undisclosed bonuses are $7,037,000. That amount includes the $2.6 million St-Pierre received from his fight with Bisping, nearly four years after his initial retirement in 2013. An official and final retirement took place in 2019, but St-Pierre is clearly always rice.
7. Junior dos Santos: $7,110,000
Junior dos Santos was a high earner in the UFC thanks to the Brazilian’s harmful striking prowess and fantastic attitude. The heavyweight champion’s total earnings from PPV fights could further increase his salary by another $7.1 million with other MMA organizations.
One of the fights that made Junior dos Santos the most money was his 2017 rematch against Stipe Miocic. This one-off fight netted the 38-year-old around $800,000. In total, Junior dos Santos’ earnings amount to $7,110,000.
6. Michael Bisping: $7,135,000
Michael Bisping’s winnings of $7.1 million are the result of his determination and consistency. He earned an almost similar salary for every fight from 2009 to 2016, when he became champion.
Bisping received huge payouts when he first defended his title against Dan Henderson and when he lost it in a fight against St-Pierre. All of those matches earned him around $500.00, minus the PPV cuts.
Bisping began receiving money from his Reebok sponsorship at UFC 189. His total earnings (minus locker room bonuses and PPV shares) are $7,135,000.
5. Anderson Silva: $8,732,000
Anderson Silva’s UFC career has been one of the most entertaining and unbeatable encounters. But the best Muay Thai fighter only started making money from his talent after he lost his belt. The Brazilian’s fight against Chris Weidman gave him $600,000 for his appearance, and he continuously earned that amount until his retirement.
UFC 208 changed Silva’s career for the good as he earned his $600,000 plus another $820,000 for defeating Derek Brunson. The 47-year-old also secured a $20,000 Reebok sponsorship and an additional $200,000 for winning the fight. Silva’s total UFC earnings — excluding PPV earnings and undisclosed bonuses — are $8,732,000.
4. Alistair Overeem: $10,204,500
If all of Alistair Overeem’s earnings from every fight were taken into account, his over $10 million salary would effortlessly double. But, that’s still a level to maintain, given that reaching a salary of $10 million in the UFC organization — without PPV numbers — is no pushover.
Overeem’s high earnings are often attributed to the 42-year-old’s lucrative signing with the UFC from 2016-2018, with a current UFC salary of $10,204,500.
3. Andrei Arlovski: $10,631,000
Young MMA enthusiasts who never watched Andrei Arlovski in his prime might find it surprising that he appeared on the list of the 10 highest paid UFC fighters. A good percentage of his earnings came from a few fights between his UFC gigs.
A notable payday: the $1.5 million the Belarusian heavyweight earned in his 2009 match against Fedor Emelianenko on Affliction. Arlovski’s over $10 million salary was not achieved overnight. But the 43-year-old has earned $300,000 for each of his last 10 fights with total earnings of $10,631,000.
2. Khabib Nurmagomedov: $14,770,000
The Russian superstar ranks among the top earners, which most UFC fans understand. As one of the best fighters in the UFC, Khabib Nurmagomedov has a big winning streak with a record of 29-0-0 in his MMA career.
Nearly 92.2% of the 33-year-old’s career salary came from his last three fights, starting with the fight he had against Conor McGregor at UFC 229. Nurmagomedov’s current salary stands at $14,770,000.
1. Conor McGregor: $25,104,000
The UFC golden boy appears at the top of the list of fighters who have earned the most money in the UFC. Along with the 33-year-old’s leaked $20 million salary, McGregor is entitled to a nice reduction in PPV percentages.
The Irish fighter also earns plenty from his sponsors, including Reebok, Burger King and Beats by Dre. McGregor’s current UFC earnings stand at $25,104,000.
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