Out of all of the active UFC fighters who currently don’t hold a championship belt, who exactly can boast the biggest social media following?
Last month we compiled a list that ranked the current UFC champions based on their respective social media following and with the revelation that the UFC’s lightweight strap-holder Conor McGregor holds over three and a half times as many followers as the entire remainder of the list combined, the time seems perfect to see how his total stacks up against the rest of the UFC’s roster.
Eight fighters, three social media platforms and one clear winner at the time of writing.
#8 – Nate Diaz – 155lbs: Instagram – 1.9m, Twitter – 1.04m, Facebook – 734k = TOTAL – 3.67m
You might be surprised at how low Stockton’s finest features on this list given his increased exposure in recent times but still, after what seemed like an eternity of living in his older brother’s shadow, Nate Diaz well and truly arrived on the scene in the last few years and now his popularity online reflects that.
#7 – Khabib Nurmagomedov – 155lbs: Instagram – 3.2m, Twitter – 199k, Facebook- 313k = TOTAL – 3.71m
Khabib’s Russian following is no doubt the cause for this one, but with him now seemingly set on a collision course one of the two champions in his division, if he keeps winning the way he has been winning to date, expect to see this guy hanging around the top of the game for quite some time.
#6 – Holly Holm – 145lbs: Instagram – 1.6m, Twitter – 327k, Facebook – 1.8m = TOTAL – 3.72m
The owner of what could well be the greatest upset KO in the history of the UFC managed to grab some of that ‘Ronda Rousey-hype’ and make it her own following her UFC 193 win over the ‘Rowdy’ one. Sure, she wasn’t able to take out the seemingly unbeatable Cris ‘Cyborg’ last weekend, but still, her starpower – after a career in both boxing and MMA – is simply undeniable.
#5 – José Aldo – 145lbs: Instagram – 1.7m, Twitter – 933k, Facebook – 2.8m = TOTAL – 5.4m
Aldo’s reign atop both the UFC and WEC featherweight divisions made him a bonafide star in his home-country of Brazil and though there are those who are new to the sport who know him just for his less-than-stellar run of late, Aldo’s legendary career is one that we will continue to be in awe of long after he is gone.
#4 – Jon Jones – 205lbs: Instagram – 2.5m, Twitter – 2m, Facebook – 2.5m = TOTAL – 7m
A tricky one, but given that he is not yet retired it seems fitting to put him on this list. With his hearing set to happen in the early stages of 2018, the entire trajectory of the Jon Jones-saga will become a lot clearer but regardless, at his peak, he was one of the sport’s most recognizable and marketable faces.
#3 – Georges St-Pierre – 185lbs: Instagram – 1.7m, Twitter – 1.9m, Facebook – 4.2m = TOTAL – 7.8m
GSP’s return against Michael Bisping at UFC 217 saw him overcome his fair share of adversity, yes, but the fan reaction to his stunning win proved that despite his time off, his place among the icons of this sport is still beyond any question. His immense popularity in his home-country of Canada is also something that four years on the sidelines can’t negate.
#2 – Anderson Silva – 185lbs: Instagram – 2.7m, Twitter – 8.1m, Facebook – 5.8m = TOTAL – 16.6m
2018 may well be the last year we have the pleasure of seeing this genuinely gifted Brazilian in action but as the longtime champion of the middleweight division, Silva managed to do things we had barely thought possible. With a vast collection of highlight-reel KO’s, stunning comebacks and uniquely versatile striking, Anderson’s undeniable effect on the game as we know it today will see him continue to be one of the most recognizable icons around for quite some time.
#1 – Ronda Rousey – 135lbs: Instagram – 9.7m, Twitter – 3.43m, Facebook – 11m = TOTAL – 24.1m
Another tricky one, but given that she has not retired, is still ranked at 135lbs and fought in December of last year, Ronda Rousey deserves her spot at the very top of the list. As a true pioneer for both women’s MMA and the UFC’s move into the mainstream, Ronda could easily step away from the sport and live comfortably for the rest of her life. Whether she does or not, will be a lot clearer next year.
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena