Getting the deal for Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Conor McGregor done just two months prior to UFC 229 doesn’t leave the UFC much time to promote the fight, but company president Dana White still believes it will do record numbers.
And why wouldn’t he? McGregor has proven time and again – love him or hate him – to draw massive amounts of eyeballs to the screen.
Though the UFC doesn’t typically release its pay-per-view results, industry reports already have McGregor as the biggest draw in the promotion’s history. Though Brock Lesnar and Frank Mir pulled in 1.6 million buys on the strength of a stacked UFC 100 fight card, McGregor’s second fight with Nate Diaz sits at the top with an estimated 1.65 million buys. McGregor vs. Diaz 1 wasn’t far behind with 1.5 million buys. And that’s just mixed martial arts.
McGregor crossed over into the boxing world for a fight with Floyd Mayweather, a bout no one thought he’d be able to get lined up, but he did. Mayweather vs. McGregor also did massive numbers, drawing 4.3 million pay-per-view buys; the second most in industry history.
So when White expects UFC 229: Khabib vs. McGregor to do better than any other event his company has promoted, it’s with good reason.
“This is a fight between two straight killers, who are coming out of the gate straight after each other, head to head,” White told TSN Sports. “There was really no problems putting this fight together. It’s what makes Conor McGregor such an international superstar. This guy fights anybody, anywhere, any time. After a two-year layoff, he comes right out of the gates and wants Khabib and Khabib, who’s undefeated and obviously destroyed everybody in front of him, wants this fight now and wants to defend his title against Conor McGregor. Two guys in their prime; two animals.
“We’re looking at two million pay-per-view buys.”
INTERVIEW: Dana White discusses how the mega fight between lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov at #UFC229 came together, Nate Diaz's tweet and whether we could see a fight between Georges St-Pierre and Anderson Silva pic.twitter.com/O6cU5Bll6H
— Aaron Bronsteter (@aaronbronsteter) August 3, 2018