Conor McGregor dominates UFC pay-per-view rankings ahead of Poirier trilogy

Conor McGregor will bid to strengthen his stanglehold on the UFC's pay-per-view list when he takes on Dustin Poirier next weekend.

The Irishman has featured in the main event of seven of the promotion's top 10 PPV showcases, and his trilogy with Poirier is also expected to rank highly.

Former two-weight world champion McGregor is known for his ability to draw a crowd, and UFC 264 sold out it's 20,000-person capacity within just seconds of going on sale.

And the numbers indicate that he is far and away the biggest PPV draw in the sport, with the entire top five consisting of McGregor fights.

The list doesn't even include his boxing debut against Floyd Mayweather in 2017, which was the second biggest boxing match, and was bought by almost double the amount of people who watched his bout with Khabib the following year.

Here is the top 10 list…

10. UFC 139: Rousey v Holm – 1.1m

In 2015, there was no bigger star in the UFC than Ronda Rousey, perhaps even including McGregor himself.

The Olympian was undefeated as the UFC bantamweight champion, and was credited with being one of the pioneers of the women's sport, which Dana White had once claimed would never have a place in the promotion.

But that all came crashing down when she was head-kicked and finished in brutal fashion by former boxing champ Holly Holm in Melbourne on the biggest female-led PPV in combat sports history.

9. UFC 116: Lesnar v Carwin -1.16m

Brock Lesnar was one of the biggest stars in the history of WWE, and he made his transition successfully to the world of MMA in 2007, winning the UFC heavyweight title in just his fourth fight.

It was a remarkable rise for the American, and after a record-breaking pay-per-view showing against Frank Mir in his first title defence at UFC 100, Lesnar defeated Shane Carwin at UFC 116 in one of the biggest PPV shows in history at the time.

This would be the peak of his popularity, and after losing his belt to Cain Velasquez, Lesnar would fight just twice more, instead opting to return to the WWE.

8. UFC 194: Aldo v McGregor – 1.2m

It's one of the most iconic fights in the history of the sport, and Aldo v McGregor is the Irishman's first appearance on this list.

Aldo pulled out of their initially planned meeting at UFC 189, with Chad Mendes stepping in to face McGregor on short notice for the interim belt, which the Irishman won.

But it meant that the mental warfare between Aldo and McGregor went on from January 2015 when the bout was initially confirmed, all the way to December.

McGregor ended up putting a stop to proceedings in just 13 seconds with a pinpoint left hand.

7. UFC 205: Alvarez v McGregor – 1.3m

Another historic McGregor fight on this list, UFC 205 was an important event in the promotion's trajectory.

It was the first sanctioned UFC event in New York City since the sport of MMA was legalised, and what a night it was.

McGregor beat Eddie Alvarez with one of the most complete UFC title fight performances to become the first ever simultaneous two-weight world champion in the promotion.

It also signalled the beginning of his rivalry with Khabib Nurmagomedov, who defeated Michael Johnson on the undercard before calling him out.

6. UFC 251: Usman v Masvidal – 1.3m

The last non-McGregor fight on this list, and it happened with exactly 0 paying customers in attendance on the night in Abu Dhabi.

Kamaru Usman was set to fight teammate Gilbert Burns in what would have probably been an average-selling event, but when the Brazilian pulled out, they needed a replacement on just a few days' notice.

Up stepped emerging superstar Jorge Masvidal, who was originally offered the fight but couldn't come to financial terms with the promotion.

He got what he wanted in the end despite Usman handily winning the bout, as did the UFC with one of the biggest selling PPV showcases of all time.

5. UFC 196: McGregor v Diaz – 1.3m

This would have been Conor McGregor's first chance at the lightweight title, but when Nate Diaz stepped in for the injured Rafael Dos Anjos, UFC 196 became a whole lot more interesting.

McGregor had to jump up two weight classes just to stay on the card, and the last-minute fight changes made it just too much to handle, with Diaz stopping McGregor's lightning-fast trajectory in its tracks with a second round rear naked choke.

At the time, this was the biggest selling event in UFC history.

4. UFC 246: McGregor v Cerrone – 1.35m

Many fans believed that Conor McGregor had lost some of his incredible star power, until he returned to the cage after almost two years out and a string of controversies in early 2020.

Donald 'Cowboy' Cerrone was the chosen opponent, with many viewing it as a warm-up fight of sorts before McGregor would go on to challenge for the lightweight title again.

But an incredible 1.35m people bought the PPV, showing that the support the Irishman has is going nowhere soon.

He won within just 46 seconds, landing an incredible head-kick to drop Cerrone before finishing with vicious ground and pound to consolidate his return.

3. UFC 202: Diaz v McGregor 2 – 1.6m

At the time, there was nothing anybody wanted to see more than Conor McGregor's massive rematch with Nate Diaz in the summer of 2016.

The pair had signed on to fight at the historic UFC 200 pay-per-view event, but when McGregor refused to appear at a press conference, the fight was cancelled before eventually being rebooked for UFC 202 a few months later.

And when McGregor and Diaz did eventually take to the cage in Las Vegas, the fight did not disappoint.

McGregor clearly made the necessary adjustments to fight at the 170 lb weight class and worked his way to a tight decision victory, and a trilogy is still hanging over both men.

2. UFC 257: Poirier v McGregor 2 – 1.6m

Conor McGregor finally returned to the octagon in early 2021 against Dustin Poirier in a rematch that many hardcore fans had been clamoring for since their 2014 bout on the undercard of UFC 178.

Since that fight, both men had become champions, with Poirier picking up the interim lightweight strap in 2019 and McGregor a famous two-weight world champion.

Bookies had McGregor backed as a decent favourite going into this fight, but Poirier rocked the boat by showing massive improvements, and knocking out the Irishman in the second round.

They will have a trilogy fight on July 10 at UFC 264.

1. UFC 229: Khabib v McGregor -2.4m

This was a heated rivalry, and the first time fans could see McGregor in the cage since the end of 2016, and he was never more popular than the build-up to UFC 229.

The Irishman was the biggest star in combat sports, but he had a perfect dance partner in Khabib, who had become lightweight champion after he was stripped for inactivity after winning the belt in 2016.

And after his impressive showing against Floyd Mayweather the year prior, McGregor was a massive draw heading into this fight.

Pre-fight press conferences were heated and ugly, but drew bigger audiences than even his fight with Mayweather and attracted a spectacular number of PPV buyers.

Khabib won the belt on the night, but the event was marred in controversy when he jumped out of the cage and attacked McGregor's cornerman Dillon Danis, initiating something of a riot at the T-Mobile Arena.

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