Last year, Conor McGregor was ranked #85 in Forbes’ Top 100 Highest Paid Athletes list after having 3 successful pay-per-view bouts with the UFC. This year, he was credited for just 2 fights, but he still managed to earn significantly more, jumping up 61 slots to #24 on the list.
Topping the list once again is football superstar Cristiano Ronaldo ($93 M), and one of the best basketball players of all time in LeBron James ($86.2 M).
Forbes estimates that the two-division UFC champion took home $34 million in that period, earning $27 million for his two bouts against Nate Diaz and Eddie Alvarez, along with $7 million in sponsorship money.
Once again, McGregor’s payday from the UFC was increased after the successful pay-per-view events against Diaz and Alvarez that drew 1.6 million and 1.3 million buys respectively.
McGregor also signed deals with Anheuser-Busch and Beats by Dre this year.
Three other combat sports stars made the list, with boxing champ Canelo Alvarez coming in at #43 ($28.5 M), and heavyweights Anthony Joshua ($22 M) and Wladimir Klitschko ($21.5 M) being ranked at #89 and #98 respectively.
McGregor is the biggest star in Mixed Martial Arts, and is by far the more successful draw than any of the other three boxers listed. With the completely different business models of the two sports though, athletes from the sweet science can still take home much more per bout with their bigger cut of the pie.
Forbes estimates that Canelo made north of $20 million for his one bout against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., despite selling several hundred thousand less pay-per-views than Conor. Klitschko’s entire $21.5 M payday also came from that one bout with Joshua.
Canelo is also set for a high profile super-fight against Gennady Golovkin, which is likely to net these boxers an even better payday in September.
Speaking of boxing, McGregor is currently looking to get the biggest payday of his life by switching over to the sport. The UFC champion has long mentioned wanting to be at the top of this very list, and if that long discussed match against Floyd Mayweather can happen, he surely rises up several more spots.
Floyd topped the list in 2012, 2014 and 2015, and if the cross-over fight pushes through, he likely returns to the top spot for the 4th time in his career.
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