Over the past two decades, the UFC has gone from strength to strength and has become one of the most hyped sports in the world. Where the egos of superstar athletes are combined with a brutal, physically and mentally tasking sport, the results are matches where more is on the line than a belt. Rivalries form and they often bring in large crowds.

Today we’re looking at the most-watched matches in UFC history. It’s hard to figure out how many people just watched events, so we’re taking a look at the events that racked up the most pay-per-view sales, where millions simply had to fork over money to watch the fights in real-time.

The UFC isn’t done yet and will probably get even more popular in the future. Smart gamblers can take advantage of that by checking out UFC fight night prelims odds and betting with or against the crowd, whichever you think has the best chance at winning.

  1. UFC 229: Khabib VS. McGregor

The undisputed most-watched UFC event is UFC 229. Almost 700,000 viewers ahead of the next event on our list, UFC 229 was bought and watched by 2.3 million people on the night. The total number of viewers is undoubtedly much, much more.

This 2018 Las Vegas event was where the undefeated Khabib Nurmagomedov faced off against Conor McGregor, who was a hype machine at this point. That was the main event, which ended with Khabib locking in a neck crank on McGregor and gaining the submission. Many McGregor fans across the world were devastated by the loss and Nurmagomedov’s showboating after the fight caused a small brawl around the octagon.

  1. UFC 202: Diaz VS. McGregor 2

Before the Nurmagomedov fight, it was McGregor’s rematch with Nate Diaz that had the world’s attention. Having been bought 1.6 million times, this fight took place in the same location two years before our first event on the list.

Where Nate Diaz had beat McGregor with a rear-naked chokehold earlier that year, this rematch would go for all five rounds. When the fighting was over, McGregor got his revenge with a majority decision. Anthony Johnson and Donald Cerrone also took to the octagon that night. Johnson KO’d Glover Teixeira in just 13 seconds while Cerrone won by TKO against Rick Story in the second round.

  1. UFC 257: Poirier VS. McGregor 2

You’re going to notice a trend as we continue this list. We meant it when we said Conor McGregor was a hype machine, with our next most popular UFC event being UFC 257: Poirier vs. McGregor 2. It was bought through PPV purchases 1.5 million times.

Back in 2014, McGregor scored a first-round knockout against Dustin Poirier. UFC 257 then came in 2021, so Poirier had a long time to wait for his revenge. This also meant he had a long time to prepare, which was evident when Poirier scored a second-round TKO. Once again, it was another upset for McGregor fans that they couldn’t peel their eyes from.

  1. UFC 246 – McGregor VS. Cowboy

At the fourth spot in our list is the 2020 match-up between Conor McGregor and Donald Cerrone, the Cowboy. After UFC 202, where both fighters showed themselves in good form, fans were looking forward to the two clashing in the octagon. The result was a fight that was bought and watched at least 1.3 million times.

This was McGregor’s return from retirement, which alone made it a big event, but then McGregor pulled off a head kick TKO just 40 seconds into the fight. McGregor seemed to be back in full form.

  1. UFC 196: McGregor VS. Diaz

Also at 1.3 million buys, that first fight between Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz at UFC 196 is the next most-watched event. This was also in 2016, the same year as the rematch, and Diaz disappointed many McGregor fans by forcing him into submission in the second round. As we’ve covered, McGregor would later have his revenge.

The rest of the main card wasn’t anything special, except for performances by women’s bantamweight fighters Miesha Tate and Amanda Nunes against Holly Holm and Valentina Shevchenko, respectively.

About The Author

The MMA Corner Staff

Your home for all things MMA. News, Interviews, Event Coverage, Editorials. If it is MMA related, you will find it on The MMA Corner.