In the past decade, UFC has become one of the most popular sports for fighting fans. Though only recently given the name, UFC can trace its roots to the ancient greek sport of Pankration, whose re-emergence popularized MMA and thus UFC. Here, we take a look at some of the most successful athletes in the sport. Estimated worth is based primarily off purse prizes and bonuses awarded to the fighters through their careers, as most other information remains wholly private as per the rights of the athlete.
Top 10 Richest UFC Fights – 2018 List
10. Lyoto Machida Estimated Worth: $ 3.9 Million
Starting off our list of richest UFC fighters is the Brazilian son of a head of the Japan Karate Association. Trained essentially from birth to fight, Machida was first enrolled in Karate at 3, Sumo at 8, Brazilian Jiu-Jutsu at 16, and later master Muay Thai in Thailand during adulthood. University trained in Physical Education, his training has been focused for decades, well before his UFC debut. With 22 out of 29 matches ending in victory, he has earned his millions that hard way; With accurate striking and endless training.
9.Vitor Belfort Estimated Worth: $4 Million
The current #3 UFC Middleweight as of 2016, this former Light Heavyweight Champion has raked in the dough in multiple weight classes. Born in Rio de Janeiro and studying jiu-jitsu under Carlson Gracie, he has proven a great fighter both in the octagon and in the professional boxing ring. Outside of these, his life has been quite turbulent. While he does have a great family life by all reports, and is married to actress/playboy model Joana Prado, his immediate family has suffered an intolerable tradgedy. As of 2004, his sister, Priscila Belfort had been reportedly kidnapped outside of Rio De Janiero. Some three years later, one of the kidnappers came forth with information that the woman had been killed, and was subsequently arrested. Belfort and the remainder of his family do not accept this story, however, and still hold out hope for finding his sister.
8. Tito Ortiz Estimated Worth: $4.1 Million
The former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion, Tito Ortiz has since retired and gone into apparel. With the Punishment Athletes MMA Equipment and Apparel under his ownership, as well as the Punishment Training Center, Ortiz has made more of a name for himself outside the ring than in for the past few years. Not quite everything has been golden, however. In 2010 police arrested Ortiz for a felony charge of Domestic Violence, and in 2014, he was again arrested for a DUI, for which he is still serving probation, having not been jailed. There have recently been rumours that he may return to the ring, but as of 2016, they have yet to be confirmed.
7. Jon Jones Estimated Worth: $4.18 Million
A native of Ithica, New York and carrying the nickname “Bones” for his thin frame, Jon Jones has made himself a big presence in MMA fighting. Unfortunately, this presence has not exactly been a positive one. Between doping allegations, a lack of control in terms of aggression in pre-fight stare downs, and most recently a hit and run accident in 2015, Jones has seen the inside of a court room nearly as much as he has outside the ring. Despite this, he has continued to gain a substantial number of fans and when in the ring, performs well enough to win large purses. When about to begin the process for a match in 2016, Jones’s urine test also showed the presence of multiple performance enhancing drugs.
6. Rashad Evans Estimated Worth: $4.2 Million
Evans is one of the longest running MMA fighters in the game. With matches against Chuck Liddell and other greats like Rampage Jackson in the past, and a recently canceled match against Shogun Rua, he has been part of some of the biggest fights on television. Outside of the ring, Evans has also made an appearance on Deadliest Warrior, where he was shown capable of crushing a trachea with a single elbow strike, and proved quite capable with a greek javelin in testing the weapon’s capability.
5. Chuck Liddell Estimated Worth: $4.4 Million
Often seen as the fighter to bring MMA to the world’s attention, Liddell’s mix of solid striking and diverse grappling has given him world-wide fame as a worthy opponent to anyone. Now retired as a result of three losses in a row after an incredibly successful run, Liddell is now making millions by using his head. Having a degree from California Polytechnic State University in accounting, after retirement from the ring he became a Vice President of business development. Outside of UFC, Liddell has made quite a big of money playing more or less himself in film roles from 1981 until 2015.
4. George St. Pierre Estimated Worth: $4.5 Million
With one of the best records in MMA at 25-2, St. Pierre has not always been seen as a safe bet, either in the ring or public life. Having started his martial career with a black belt by the age of 21 and plenty of experience as a Montreal bouncer, St. Pierre has widely been known as a wrestling-first fighter, though his jabs have been known to crack orbital bones. St. Pierre, despite his successes, has had a long standing issue in the form of UFC President Dana White, who has called him out on two seperate occasions on fights that White believed should have been won by opponents. As a result of this and a torn ACL, Georges had removed himself from UFC by 2014, and is now in a coaching position training other fighters. His wealth is currently unconnected with his friendship to one of Canada’s largest drug kingpins, Jimmy Cournoyer, for whom he pleaded mercy from the judge during a conviction hearing.
3. Brock Lesnar Estimated Worth: $5.4 Million
A former WWE villian, Minnesota Vikings team member, and playable character in a staggering amount of fighting games, Brock Lesnar has lived a pretty eccentric life. Having been a fairly successful heavy-weight wrestler in college, Lesnar started his fighting career as a heel who had taken down The Rock, as well as John Cena. Lesnar also made a huge name for himself for taking down the Undertaker after starting work at UFC with a record of 6-3. Trained in traditional wrestling and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Lesnar has used his weight of 265 to his advantage against opponents, leveraging it to massive monetary gains.
2. Michael Bisping Estimated Worth: $5.8 Million
The first and most successful British UFC fighter, Michael “The Count” Bisping has had a very twisting path to success. Starting off his training in Jujutsu at age 8 and continuing training for over a decade, Bisping became a remarkably successful kickboxer, despite quitting multiple times to find more stable work. He would eventually join Cage Rage fighting, and while making a name for himself, was subsequently stripped of his titles due to working with another agency, Cage Warriors. While this game him yet another period of unemployment, the UFC soon picked him up, and training under Tito Ortiz, Bisping soon became a nearly unstoppable force, winning millions along the way. Outside the ring, it has recently been announced that Bisping will have a role in the 2017 film XXX: Return of Xander Cage.
1. Anderson Silva Estimated Worth: $6 Million
Voted as one of the most dangerous men in the ring, Anderson Silva is certainly also among the richest to have ever stepped inside of it. Starting out life in a poor Brazilian family, Silva worked at a McDonalds branch while learning Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu any way he could, despite being looked down upon for his financial status. He later mastered the art, alongside Muay Thai, Judo, Tae Kwon Do, and even Capoeira to great success. Having one of the longest winning streaks (16 consecutive wins), as well as holding the title of Middleweight champion for nealy 2500 days, Silva has won over $6 Million in prizes, as well as previously holding a sponsorship by Nike. Silva has also made it into professional boxing with a 1-1 record and has voice acted or directly played in several Brazilian movies.