Conor McGregor is confident that his spot as the UFC’s top pay-per-view draw won’t change after this weekend — and it wouldn’t have mattered if Daniel Cormier vs. Jon Jones was still the UFC 200 headliner.
McGregor’s last Octagon appearance, a second-round submission loss to Nate Diaz at UFC 196 in March, reportedly did in the neighborhood of 1.5 million pay-per-view buys. The promotion itself does not release numbers, so all figures are estimations. That said, the Irishman also believes that UFC 196 surpassed UFC 100, which was believed to have sold 1.6 million buys.
“I’m happy with my No. 1 spot currently. It’s the No. 1 pay-per-view in the company’s history. People think UFC 100 did more pay per view buys, but it didn’t,” McGregor said at a press conference on Thursday. “I feel this [UFC 200] will do well even though Jones and Cormier is off. Their last contest did 750,000 buys. It was a five-rounder; it wasn’t the best contest. It was OK.
“I don’t feel that was the attraction. I think bringing Brock [Lesnar] back was the attraction to the card. I think it will do OK numbers but it still won’t take UFC 196 off the top spot and it certainly won’t 202 of the top spot, no way.”
McGregor’s rematch with Diaz is set for UFC 202 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Aug. 20. Their bout was initially supposed to take place this weekend, but those plans were scrapped when McGregor balked at fulfilling all the media and promotional obligations that were required. As a result, the fight was pulled from the card with plenty of time for the promotion to find a suitable replacement headliner. The possible anti-doping policy violation that led to the removal of Jon Jones from UFC 200 last night is a different matter entirely.
“I could sit up here and say well, well, well,” McGregor said. “But I am a successful human being, and successful human beings do not celebrate in the adversity or misfortune of others. I wish Jon well. I wish everyone backstage well. I know they’re running around like headless chickens trying to get everything together.
“But all I missed was a press conference. If I look at the facts, the main event of the fight and the co-main event were not at the press conference. It is what it is.”