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Conor McGregor expects big payout on Saturday's UFC return

Thomas Barrabi

Conor McGregor won’t be fighting for a title when he returns to the Octagon at UFC 246 on Saturday night, but the superstar mixed martial artists expects to be well-compensated for his performance.

McGregor, 31, will face Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone in the main event at UFC 246, his first bout since his high-profile loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov in October 2018. Despite that setback, McGregor said the upcoming match should be the most lucrative of his UFC career.

“I’m confident it’s going to be a good, a nice paycheck. …. I’m estimating a good $80 million,” McGregor told ESPN’s Ariel Helwani earlier this week. “Like I said, we’ve got Australia and Canada and England and Ireland. It should be a good one.”

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McGregor’s prediction includes his pay for the fight itself as well as his share of pay-per-view revenue in the U.S. and abroad. He disclosed that he earned more than $50 million for the Nurmagomedov fight, which included his disclosed payout of $3 million.

After a dominant run that saw him hold two UFC belts simultaneously, McGregor lost to Nurmagomedov by submission at UFC 229. But the event is best known for what happened in the main event’s aftermath when Nurmagomedov leaped from the ring to attack members of McGregor’s camp in the crowd. The incident prompted the Nevada State Athletic Commission to withhold Nurmagomedov’s pay.

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Despite the incident, UFC 229 was a massive success. The event generated 2.4 million buys in the U.S. alone  -- at a price of $54.99 for Standard-Definition and $64.99 in High-Definition -- and shattered domestic records for the sport.

“They think I’m toast, Ariel, but I’m still the bread,” McGregor added.

While McGregor among the top-earning fighters in UFC history, his biggest payday came in another sport. He earned about $100 million for his exhibition boxing match against Floyd “Money” Mayweather in 2017.

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