UFC vs boxing: How UFC is edging ahead in the popularity stakes
UFC vs boxing: How UFC is edging ahead in the popularity stakes

UFC vs boxing: How UFC is edging ahead in the popularity stakes

Floyd Mayweather Jr may be the firm favourite to get the better of Conor McGregor in their August 26 boxing match but there is plenty of evidence to suggest UFC is winning the battle of the combat sports in the UFC vs boxing popularity stakes.

Comparisons between the two sports are inevitable in the run-up to the Las Vegas showdown, which looks set to break all records in terms of pay-per-view revenues and both fighters reported to be receiving nine-figure purses.

Boxing had its biggest drawing fight ever in 2015 when 4.6 million paid out to watch box-office juggernauts Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao collide but, with only one card mustering a million viewers since, that is looking like a last hurrah.

Three guys have kept crowds coming since Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield faded from view: Oscar De La Hoya, Mayweather and Pacquiao, but the latter is the youngest of the three at 38.

While boxing insiders fret over where their next landscape changer will surface from, UFC is enjoying the most successful spell of its existence, pulling in over a million views five times in 2016 alone, an incredible rise for a company averaging around the 50,000 mark 15 years ago.

McGregor has spearheaded that boom, culminating in his boxing showdown with Mayweather for which he is the 5/1 underdog, but he is no lone wolf, with Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate also recent graduates to the million club.

That is the concern for boxing as it competes with Dana White’s mixed-martial-arts monster for relevance and popularity: it isn’t just that the numbers are tilting in the upstart’s favour, it is that they appear to have more name value with which to sustain the growth, and younger stars too.

This bwin infographic tells the whole story of the UFC vs boxing comparison, guiding you through the changing landscape by mapping both forms of combat’s top drawing bout in each year since 2002.

It also compares the range of fighters attracting the most buys, focuses on how UFC has taken over in the last few years and shows by contrasting the first four pay-per-views that both have headlined how McGregor is on course to prove an even better moneymaker than Mayweather: