The Nate Diaz-Conor McGregor rivalry has been big business for the UFC.
Their first meeting at UFC 196, which Diaz won via second-round submission, was rumored to have garnered somewhere in the neighborhood of 1.5 million pay-per-view buys. Meanwhile, their rematch at UFC 202, a majority decision triumph for McGregor, was reportedly the promotion’s third highest-selling card of all-time behind only UFC 196 and UFC 100.
As well as that rivalry has done, UFC President Dana White believes the highly-anticipated comeback of former bantamweight queen Ronda Rousey will draw even more viewers.
“Yes [it will be bigger than Diaz-McGregor],” White said during an appearance on "The Herd” on Wednesday. “Ronda Rousey’s return will be the biggest pay-per-view that we have ever done.”
Before McGregor arrived on the scene, Rousey had established herself as the Las Vegas-based promotion’s feature attraction. However, the Olympic judoka has been nearly invisible since losing her title to Holly Holm via second round knockout at UFC 193 last November. White has already dismissed the possibility of “Rowdy” coming back for November’s blockbuster UFC 205 card at Madison Square Garden.
“Ronda had a bunch of minor surgeries and they’re healing up and when they are, I’m assuming she’s gonna fight,” he explained.
Although the organization doesn’t release official pay-per-view numbers, industry estimates have UFC 193 selling 1.1 million pay-per-view buys. Rousey also approached the 1 million mark for her previous fight against Bethe Correia, as that event reportedly garnered 900,000 buys.
White is still amazed by how far women’s MMA has come in such a short time, with much of that growth spearheaded by Rousey.
“If you’d have told me 15 years ago that women would be fighting in the UFC and if you told me that women would be as technically sound as the men and the fights would be loved by millions of people all over the world and the hottest thing going in the UFC, I’d have never believed you,” he said.