UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregor has been confirmed as the biggest draw in UFC history following the release of pay-per-view numbers for the promotion.
To the indoctrinated, this will not come as a shock. Since his arrival in the UFC back in 2013, McGregor has been the larger than life personality the UFC has needed to bring it into the mainstream.
His ascension to the throne of the featherweight division was one of the most enthralling stories yet to come from the world of MMA. Relentlessly pursuing long time champion José Aldo, before destroying the Brazilian in 13 second at UFC 194 last December, McGregor was simply irresistible to follow.
Now, as reported by the Bleacher Report, the UFC pay-per-view records reveal that a promotion which surpassed the one million PPV threshold a total of seven times before 2015, has done so another five times since the seismic events of UFC 194.
McGregor has been the headliner for three of those five occasions and including his UFC 194 escapades, the Irishman has a total of 5,275,000 pay-per-views in his last four bouts.
Comparing this total to the promotion’s next best sellers, the legendary George Saint Pierre (4,635,000 – 6 events) and WWE crossover superstar Brock Lesnar (4,095,000 – 4 events), it is obvious that McGregor is simply head and shoulders above the rest.
Famously quoted as saying ‘I didn’t come here to play the game, I came here to change it‘, it is clear that McGregor has, once again, been true to his word.
The PPV figures have been, in part, fueled by the Irishman’s marketability outside of the octagon, becoming a huge draw outside in the mainstream media. Constantly in demand on the television circuit, McGregor has captivated talk show audiences that up until recently had either no awareness or no interest of the world in which he rules.
As his profile has grown, so too have pay-per-view numbers and gate receipts for UFC events.
At 28, McGregor is at the height of his powers. In the enviable position of being able to pretty much set his own fights, within reason, his weight shifting adventures against Nate Diaz, while still the featherweight champion, are simply unheard of until now.
The UFC and Dana White knows they have a golden goose in McGregor. All conquering in the octagon and wildly marketable out of it, the man from Crumlin has almost single-handedly driven the sport of mixed martial arts and the UFC promotion into the mainstream spotlight.
Now, as the UFC prepare to announce the line up for their triumphant return to New York at UFC 205, all eyes are now on whether McGregor will feature in the headline event.
Carrying a leg injury from his last clash with Nate Diaz in August, reports currently suggest the featherweight champion will be forced to sit out the promotions biggest event of the year.
How this might impact pay-per-view figures might be the biggest indication yet of just how important McGregor has become to the UFC.
The expected line up will be announced by White on September 27th.
Gary Brennan, Pundit Arena