Fame is wonderful, as are championship belts — but in the end, becoming successful really comes down to being the richest. Many of the fighters who have put together the longest win streaks, held the most belts and headlined more big-time events are also the ones cashing the biggest checks at the end of the day.
Here’s a look at the top 20 earners in UFC history through the most recent pay-per-view card, UFC 196. The list features many of the expected names, but the one at the very top is a bit of a surprise. The numbers listed with the fighter come courtesy of MMA-Manifesto.
20. Junior dos Santos, $2.6 million
When Junior dos Santos debuted in the UFC in 2008 with a first round TKO vs. Fabricio Werdum, no one likely knew just how far “Cigano” would rise.
Three years later, dos Santos and Cain Velasquez fought in the main event of the first UFC on FOX card, with the Brazilian winning the belt and cementing his status as an icon in the sport.