ESPN released its Top 100 Most Famous Athlete’s List this week. The list included three UFC fighters. Lightweight champion Conor McGregor, Ronda Rousey, and Anderson Silva made the prestigious list of the most recognizable athletes in the world.
The list was compiled using a formula that “combines endorsements with social media following and internet search popularity.” While there’s been some debate in the MMA community about who’s the sport’s biggest star, Rousey came in nine spots ahead of McGregor at 16. McGregor placed 25th. Silva occupied the 39th slot on the list.
Rousey (12-2) last fought in December, losing to champion Amanda Nunes by TKO in just 48 seconds. While her fighting future remains uncertain, her mark on the sport cannot be denied. “Rowdy” pioneered women fighting in the UFC. She’s headlined some of the biggest selling pay-per-view events in the fight promotion’s history. Rousey changed the landscape of MMA.
McGregor (21-3) became the first fighter in UFC history to hold two divisional belts at the same time when he knocked out Eddie Alvarez in November. The Irish knockout artist changed the game with his relentless self-promotion. He’s made press conferences as big of an attraction as fight nights.
While currently at odds with the UFC, Silva (34-8, 1NC) once sat atop the promotion as one of the top pound-for-pound fighters of all time. He holds the record for most UFC title defenses at 10, a record which flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson recently tied.
Portuguese soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo topped the list. NBA’s LeBron James appeared second on the list.