Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

It should come as no surprise that the UFC world is an expensive one. Those fighters are not spilling their blood (literally) for nothing. Of course, they are expected to get paid good sums. However, some of those numbers are quite impressive. After all, talent and hard work should be well-rewarded, right? Not all athletes can be so good at mixed martial arts. Being among the top MMA fighters is one of those rare career opportunities that come only to the most determined one. You may look at the names on that list to agree with me. So, without further ado, let’s see some of the highest-paid MMA fighters.

Conor McGregor

Of course, who else could start this list if not the golden boy of the UFC, Conor McGregor. Seeing him as the highest-paid MMA champion should not come as a surprise even to those who know little to nothing about the UFC fighters. McGregor has become an athlete celebrity quite a while ago. Yet, it doesn’t mean he is done with professional sport. Of course not. He still got it! This year he was paid over $20 million just in salaries. Thus, McGregor received the largest amount of money from the UFC in its history, which is an impressive achievement on its own. This year’s total income has also made him the highest-paid athlete in the world today, not just in the UFC. So, the bar got pretty high for the rest of the MMA fighters.

Alistair Overeem

Alistair Overeem has reached a rare salary in the UFC world. This year he reached over $10 million! Indeed, it’s quite an impressive achievement for a martial arts fighter. However, those who watch his career should not be surprised. This man shows incredible results every time he is in a ring. It’s worth mentioning that he had fought pretty much every top-ranked MMA fighter of today including some of the MMA old legends. Overeem is definitely going into the history of UFC as one of its best fighters. We have only high hopes here for his future.

Khabib Nurmagomedov

This MMA fighter has shown many what he is truly worth. Coming from Russia, he needed to represent his country, right? There are not many Russian MMA in the UFC these days. Nurmagomedov delivered. He has earned the respect of UFC fans all over the world. It’s easy to see why. In his long career, this MMA fighter faced no loss. It’s true. He won every one of his fights in a ring, even the one with Conor McGregor in 2018 when the odds were not in Nurmagomedov’s favor. Well, the fighter was well compensated for his success. This year he reached the top three highest-paid MMA fighters. His salary made about $14 million in 2021.

Anderson Silva

Anderson Silva is one of the oldest MMA fighters out there. Yet, he still got it. This year’s income of almost $9 million can prove my point here. Silva hasn’t always been the highest-paid fighter in the UFC. Yet, he has always been one to watch out for. His career didn’t have many downs. However, even after losing his belt, Silva managed to not just find his way to the top. He actually became a bigger earner due to his determination and true fighting spirit. Well, today he is in the top five highest MMA fighters. At 46 years old, it is one hell of an achievement. He is gonna be missed in his retirement. Yet, he gave us so many good fights to remember him by.

Jon Jones

Jon Jones is one of the youngest champions in the UFC. He started his career as an MMA fighter over ten years ago. Back in 2011, Jones had already won his first title of a Light Heavyweight Champion. And in 2015, after losing it for a year, he had earned back this title once again. Overall, it’s crazy to think how fast Jones reached the top ranks of MMA fighters. It took him only a few years to go from the bottom to become one of the main stars. It shows in his pay, too, of course. This year Jon Jones is in the top ten highest-paid MMA fighters. His salary is over $7 million. Yet, it feels like this is nearly the beginning of what Jones is aiming for in his UFC career.

Junior dos Santos

Not falling far behind in the ranking, Junior dos Santos has earned almost $7 million this year. This heavyweight champion is the one to look out for. His abilities on the ring are well-known among the professionals. Those strikes are deadly. Santos earned his first heavyweight champion title when he was 27. Now, almost ten years later, he is still going strong in the tournaments. Of course, Santos was blessed with such mentors as Anderson Silva and Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira, who greatly helped him at the beginning of his career. Today, Junior dos Santos has some of the highest-paid fights in UFC history.

Donald Cerrone

Another old-timer on our list, Donald Cerrone, has earned nearly $7 million this year. However, it’s fair to say that his most income comes from the PPV events outside his UFC salary. Yet, the championship highly values this loyal fighter. Although Cerrone has never won any championship title, he managed to make a big name for himself throughout his long career. Cerrone is also one of the most productive fighters in UFC history. He was able to put up as many as five fights per year.  It’s a rare record for MMA fighters. Always ready to put up a show, Cerrone has definitely earned his money the hard way.

The bottom line

These were just a few names from the list of highest-paid MMA fighters. Of course, the real numbers are hiding not in the UFC salaries of those fighters but in their personal networks, UFC bonuses, and PPV events that they manage on the side. Also, UFC has always been quite discreet in its salary policies, so it’s possible we don’t know full information about MMA fighters’ incomes from the fights. Overall, if you want to learn more about the UFC world, you are always welcome to hire professionals from to put up a research paper for you.

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