The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is a mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion organization headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada. Zuffa, a wholly owned division of Endeavor Group Holdings, owns and operates it. To find out the most watched UFC events of all time, we will create a list of ten UFC events that shook the world.
There have been countless massive UFC events over the years. The UFC skyrocketed after the introduction of ‘The Notorious Conor McGregor. McGregor is to the UFC what Mayweather Jr. was to boxing; both have many events with seven-figure PPV buyouts.
List of the Most Watched UFC Events Of All Time
We created an ascending order list according to the buy rate or pay-per-view of each UFC match. These matches are considered the greatest UFC matches of all time.
|Event||Date||Matchup||Venue||Attendance||Buy rate or PPV|
|UFC 193||November 14, 2015||Ronda Roussy vs. Holly Holm||Docklands Stadium, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia||56,214||1,100,000|
|UFC 116||July 3, 2010||Shane Carwin vs. Brock Lesner||MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada||12,740||1,160,000|
|UFC 194||December 12, 2015||José Aldo vs. Connor McGregor||MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada||16,516||1,200,000|
|UFC 205||November 12, 2016||Eddie Alvarez vs. Conor McGregor||Madison Square Garden, New York City, U.S.A||20,427||1,300,000|
|UFC 251||July 12, 2020||Kamaru Usman vs. Jorge Masvidal||du Forum, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates||Behind closed doors due to COVID||1,300,000|
|UFC 196||March 5, 2016||Conor McGregor vs. Nate Diaz||MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada.||14,898||1,317,000|
|UFC 246||January 18, 2020||Conor McGregor vs. Donald Cerrone||T-Mobile Arena, Paradise, Nevada, United States||19,040||1,353,429|
|UFC 257||January 24, 2021||Dustin Poirier vs. Conor McGregor||Etihad Arena, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates||2,600||1,504,737|
|UFC 202||August 20, 2016||Nate Diaz vs. Conor McGregor||T-Mobile Arena, Paradise, Nevada, United States||15,539||1,650,000|
|UFC 229||October 6, 2018||Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Conor McGregor||T-Mobile Arena, Paradise, Nevada, United States||20,034||2,400,000|
1. Khabib vs. McGregor: UFC 229
It should come as no surprise to any fight fan that this card is at the top. This is one of the most important UFC events in MMA history and combat sports history. Also one of the most watched UFC events of all time.
The feud between Russian Khabib and Irishman McGregor is undoubtedly the most heated in UFC PPV history. They were eventually set to square off in October 2018.
The main event featured the current unbeaten champion Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. former featherweight and lightweight champion Conor McGregor, fight for the UFC Lightweight Championship.
McGregor won the lightweight belt while being the incumbent featherweight champion at UFC 205. McGregor never defended the championship, taking a break in 2017 due to the birth of his first child and then competing in a boxing battle against Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Nurmagomedov climbed out of the octagon seconds after the fight and stormed for McGregor’s cornerman Dillon Danis. Soon after, McGregor and Khabib’s cousin, Abubakar Nurmagomedov, attempted to exit the octagon, but a brawl ensued. McGregor was then attacked in the octagon by two of Nurmagomedov’s cornermen, Zubaira Tukhugov and Esed Emiragaev.
The Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) withheld Nurmagomedov’s paycheck for the fight due to the incident, pending an inquiry into his behavior. Tukhugov was supposed to face Artem Lobov, McGregor’s partner who was accosted by Nurmagomedov in April 2018, on October 27 at UFC Fight Night: Volkan vs. Smith.
Khabib defeated McGregor by 4 rounds. The method was a submission by neck crank.
2. Diaz vs. McGregor: UFC 202
The main fight was a welterweight fight between The Ultimate Fighter 5 winner Nate Diaz and former lightweight championship contender Conor McGregor. It is one of the most watched UFC events of all time.
Because of “McGregor’s infatuation with it,” UFC President Dana White stated they worked on scheduling the rematch. The two had previously met at UFC 196 earlier this year.
McGregor was supposed to face then-UFC Lightweight Champion Rafael dos Anjos. However, Dos Anjos dropped out 11 days before the event due to a fractured foot. Diaz finally took his position, and the fight was moved to the welterweight class.
It was time for McGregor to make his long-awaited comeback, and he agreed to face Nate Diaz in a welterweight rematch. The fight was scheduled for August of 2016. The undercards for this fight included Anthony Johnson, Donald Cerrone, and a few more UFC luminaries.
Conor McGregor avenged his sole UFC defeat, pushing through tiredness for a majority decision win over Nate Diaz in a five-round, back-and-forth, and brutal struggle that will undoubtedly rise to the top of the Fight of the Year conversation.
McGregor won over a majority decision. Scorecard was 48–47, 47–47, 48–47, and the match went on for five rounds.
3. Poirier vs. McGregor: UFC 257
A small number of spectators were permitted into the newly built Etihad Arena, marking the first occasion that non-essential event workers have been present since UFC 248 on March 7, 2020. According to the buyout numbers, it is one of the most watched UFC events of all time.
The facility has a maximum capacity of nearly 18,000 people, but the UFC expected more than 2,000 people to attend each Fight Island event over the week.
This event featured a lightweight fight between previous UFC Featherweight and Lightweight Champion Conor McGregor and previous interim champion Dustin Poirier. They met in a featherweight fight on September 27, 2014, at UFC 178, which McGregor won by first-round TKO.
Dustin Poirier defeated Connor McGregor by the TKO method. The match went on for 2 rounds.
Poirier was violently knocked out in the first round of his first bout with McGregor in 2014. It was time for his long-awaited retaliation against the Notorious, and he was slated to fight him in a 5-round PPV match in January 2021.
4. McGregor vs. Cerrone: UFC 246
The main event featured a welterweight fight between former UFC Featherweight and Lightweight Champion Conor McGregor and former lightweight title contender Donald Cerrone. After resigning from the UFC, the Notorious made the decision to return. McGregor was set to face Donald Cerrone in a welterweight PPV event in January 2020.
Despite the fact that 20 boxers participated in ten fights before the main event ring stroll, which began soon after midnight on the East Coast, only the ultimate outcome had a chance to generate headlines.
Nonetheless, as part of its promise to offer comprehensive coverage of all events, the MMA staff here at B/R HQ covered the whole night, from the first introduction of the early prelims to the final question of the post-main event interview.
McGregor surprised veteran Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone by breaking his nose with a sequence of shoulder blows and shattering his spirit with a follow-up head kick that resulted in a whip-crack 40-second TKO finish in the PPV main event.
Donald Cerrone is humiliated in 40 seconds by Conor McGregor. McGregor won by TKO in one round.
It was the fiery Irishman’s first UFC victory in 1,162 days. After finishing fights early at featherweight and lightweight, he set a record for the organization by earning a stoppage in his third weight category (welterweight).
5. McGregor vs. Diaz: UFC 196
The event was officially confirmed as “UFC 197” in November 2015, and it will take place on March 5, 2016, at the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Weeks later, on December 29, UFC announced that the event would be canceled and relocated to a new site. On January 12, it was announced that the event would be held in the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.
Conor McGregor was fighting in the welterweight class for the first time. Nate Diaz submitted Conor McGregor in the second round, causing quite a stir. This was excellent for a possible build-up in a rematch.
The main event was supposed to be a fight between UFC Lightweight Champion Rafael dos Anjos and UFC Featherweight Champion Conor McGregor. This would have been just the second occasion in UFC history where champions from separate divisions competed for the same championship.
Nate Diaz defeated Connor McGregor. The match went on for two rounds. Diaz won by submission method by a move called the rear-naked choke.
6. Usman vs. Masvidal: UFC 251
When Gilbert Burns returned positive for COVID-19, Street Jesus agreed to face Kamaru Usman on a six-day notice, with the PPV set for July 12th, 2020. With the buzz surrounding Jorge Masvidal’s comeback, this card was designed to smash records, with undercards featuring Alex Volkanovski, Max Holloway, Peter Yan, Jose Aldo, Thug Rose, and Amanda Ribas.
Following UFC 221 in February 2018, this would have been the promotion’s second visit to Perth. However, the promotion later stated on May 5 that the event in Perth would be formally postponed owing to the COVID-19 epidemic.
While the company has not officially confirmed it, a rematch of the UFC Featherweight Championship between current champion Alexander Volkanovski and former champion Max Holloway was initially scheduled to headline the event on June 6.
The two first met at UFC 245, where Volkanovski won the championship unanimously against Holloway. Volkanovski announced in late March that he would postpone his championship defense on June 6 owing to the COVID-19 epidemic.
Kamaru Usman defeated Jorge Masvidal. The match went on for five rounds. The decision was unanimous.
7. Alvarez vs. McGregor: UFC 205
Conor McGregor becomes the first fighter in UFC history to hold belts in two divisions simultaneously, in what UFC president Dana White termed the “largest fight card” in the company’s history. This was the first UFC event to be held in New York City. The match was known to be one of the most watched UFC events of all time.
It was also the first UFC event held in New York after the state’s long-standing professional MMA prohibition was lifted in early 2016. To this point, UFC 7 was the sole event held in the state, taking place in Buffalo in September 1995.
It didn’t take long for Conor McGregor to make a comeback in a PPV title bout, albeit in a different weight class. The Notorious wanted to be the first UFC fighter to hold two World Championships in two separate weight classes simultaneously, and he had a chance to do so when he signed a deal to face Eddie Alvarez in 2016.
McGregor defeated Alvarez. The match was continued for two rounds. McGregor won by TKO.
8. Aldo vs. McGregor: UFC 194
McGregor’s spectacular ascension in the UFC, highlighted by his stunning first-round knockouts, landed him a fight against Chad Mendes for the UFC Featherweight Interim Championship. After knocking out Chad Mendes, the UFC star finally earned his shot at UFC Gold when he was supposed to battle Jose Aldo, the UFC Featherweight Champion at the time, in 2015.
The event was initially set for December 5th. On the other hand, the MGM Grand Garden Arena had already been reserved for an Andrea Bocelli event, causing the UFC to consider alternate sites like the Mandalay Bay Events Center.
The most significant location under consideration was AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, which would have undoubtedly made the event the most attended in the promotion’s history. Following that, UFC president Dana White said the event would occur at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on December 12, albeit one week later.
McGregor won against Jose Aldo. The match only lasted 13 seconds as McGregor TKO’d Aldo. He delivered one of the most brutal left hooks in the combat game.
9. Carwin vs. Lesner: UFC 116
Brock Lesnar decided to create waves in the UFC with his Mixed-Martial Arts talents after leaving WWE. He had won the UFC Heavyweight World Championship over Frank Mir and was set to fight the world’s interim Heavyweight Champion, Shane Carwin, in 2010.
Shane Carwin, who defeated Frank Mir to win the Interim Heavyweight Championship at UFC 111, challenged current heavyweight champion, Brock Lesnar. Before Carwin won the interim heavyweight title, the two were supposed to fight in UFC 106 and UFC 108, but Lesnar dropped out of both fights due to an ailment (diverticulitis) that stopped him from training.
It finished with Lesnar winning by submission in the second round. He used the arm-triangle choke method to ensure his victory.
10. Roussy vs. Holm: UFC 193
Ronda Rousey was among the UFC’s top stars. She drew the attention of fight fans to the UFC Women’s division by being unbeaten and submitting practically every opponent she fought in the first round. Of course, it was only until she met Holly Holm in 2015 that she was knocked out in the second round of the main event.
The event was the promotion’s debut appearance in Melbourne. After UFC 129 at the Rogers Centre in Canada and UFC on Fox: Gustafsson vs. Johnson at Tele2 Arena in Sweden, Docklands Stadium became the third stadium site to host a UFC event.
The main event was supposed to be a UFC Welterweight Championship fight between current champion Robbie Lawler and Carlos Condit, a former WEC Welterweight Champion and previous interim UFC Welterweight Champion. However, the battle was canceled after Lawler had a thumb injury during his high school wrestling career.
Ronda Rousey jumped right into the Women’s Featherweight fight. Holly Holm used her boxing abilities and southpaw posture to tag Rousey with her left hand while controlling the distance. Throughout the round.
Rousey attempted many clinches, including an armbar attempt, but none were successful. Rousey was bloodied and breathing heavily before the end of the first round, with analysts describing it as the first round she had ever lost in her MMA career.
Holly Holm defeated Ronda Roussy. The match lasted for two rounds. Holm head-kicked Roussy to ensure the KO.
The UFC is a major business these days, and the biggest MMA fights have drawn large crowds, with millions watching the top stars. We have formed a list of the ten most watched UFC events of all time. These events were heavily marketed worldwide, and fans enjoyed every moment of it.
The Ultimate Fighting Championship has skyrocketed in popularity thanks to a certain Conor ‘The Notorious’ McGregor, who naturally featured prominently on the list of the top PPV sales. Social media is promoting UFC very much in recent times as it continues to grow its popularity.