UFC 229 was very likely a record setting event for the UFC. Already reportedly trending toward their highest ever PPV buy numbers heading into October 6th, it could also easily be among their highest grossing at the gate. And overall, it looks to be one of the most profitable endeavors in UFC history.
All of which is likely why, if they were to do it all over again, Khabib Nurmagomedov would be looking to set a record all his own. The ‘Eagle’ defeated former UFC ‘double champ’ Conor McGregor on Saturday, to retain his lightweight title – and take his record to an amazing 27-0. It was, with few reservations, a dominating performance for the Dagestani – who forced his Irish opponent to tap midway through the fourth round.
The action that went down in the cage gave little competitive cause for a rematch. Nonetheless, McGregor has already been asking for one. And if the MMA superstar gets his way, Nurmagomedov training partner (and former UFC middleweight champion) Luke Rockhold says that the UFC will have to open up their checkbook for Khabib like they never have before (transcript via MMA Mania).
“If you want a rematch, if the people want a rematch, if they are going to buy into a rematch, they are going to have to pay Khabib,” said Luke Rockhold during a recent edition of The Ariel Helwani MMA Show.
“Khabib doesn’t need anything at this point in his life. So they are going to have to give him a very, very hefty paycheck. Probably the biggest paycheck in the world, in the history of MMA, guaranteed on his side. I know Khabib, I have talked with Khabib and if you want a rematch, he will demand a record-breaking number.”
As far as ‘guaranteed’ paychecks in MMA go, Khabib may not have that far to get the record. Conor McGregor’s last couple of bouts have netted him a reported $3 million guaranteed from the UFC, breaking Brock Lesnar’s high mark of $2.5 million. For this latest PPV, Khabib came in at an even $2 million.
Obviously, however, that doesn’t include add-ons like PPV revenue splits. There, McGregor claimed he could net as much as $50 million total if UFC 229 broke 3.5 million buys. ANd while that seems unlikely to have happened, it could give Nurmagomedov a whole new ballpark for his demands.