Conor McGregor has done it again. The Irish fighter’s August rematch against Nate Diaz is now being recognized as the biggest pay-per-view event in UFC history at 1.65 million buys. That edges out the previous biggest UFC PPV event record of 1.6 million buys, which was also set by McGregor and Diaz for their first fight in March. It took the UFC seven years to finally top the PPV numbers generated by UFC 100 in 2009. Now Conor McGregor has done it twice in one year.
You can’t dismiss Nate Diaz’s role in the massive number of sales generated, either. Many of McGregor’s earlier fights performed well off the Irish fighter’s name alone, and he was set to do most of the promotional heavy lifting until original opponent and then-lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos pulled out of their fight. With a week and a half to fight night, McGregor asked the UFC for Nate Diaz. And suddenly he had an antagonist more than willing to fire back at his verbal attacks and build the match into a must-see event.
The fight itself was a back and forth roller coaster that ended with McGregor defeated, but rather than disappear like Ronda Rousey following her loss, Conor immediately demanded a rematch under the exact same conditions. Between the first fight being so exciting and the general consensus that McGregor might be biting off more than he could chew, it’s no surprise McGregor vs. Diaz 2 did big numbers. But it was the fight week drama featuring Nate Diaz rattling Conor’s cage and chucking water bottles at his head that pushed the event over the record line.
Did these events turn Nate Diaz into another legit UFC superstar capable of drawing huge pay-per-view numbers on his own? We won’t know until he headlines a card without Conor, something the Diaz brother seemed uninterested in until a trilogy between the two is complete. As for Conor, rumor has it he may face off against lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez at the UFC’s inaugural New York City event. McGregor’s quest to become the first man to hold two belts in the UFC simultaneously may not be enough to threaten the records he set with Diaz, but we doubt McGregor is capable of dropping below a million pay-per-view buys no matter who he faces.