The list of fighters who have graced the world of combat sports is long and varied.
Combat sports have always been the people’s sports, drawing millions of viewers from around the globe. The idea of two people battling it out to prove who is the better fighter has always delighted fans who come in numbers to watch and cheer on their favourites.
From Sugar Ray Robinson, Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson in boxing to the Ken Shamrock, George St Pierre and Anderson Silva in MMA, the list of fighters who have graced the world of combat sports is long and varied.
We at Khel Now take a look at five of the highest-paid names in the world of combat sports today:
5. Canelo Alvarez
Santos Saul Alvarez Barragan better known as Canelo ( Cinnamon) Alvarez is a boxing superstar in his own right. The man from Jalisco, Mexico holds the No. 1 spot in the pound for pound rankings across different boxing magazines and websites including The Ring, BoxRec, Boxing Writers Association of America and Transnational Boxing Rankings Board (TBRB).
He is a four-division world champion and has achieved every accomplishment that is to be achieved in the squared circle. He has held the unified WBA (Super), WBC, The Ring and lineal middleweight titles since 2018, the IBF middleweight title from May to August 2019 and the WBA (Regular) super middleweight title since 2018.
According to Forbes magazine, Canelo has earned $37m in the last one year, which includes $2m from endorsements. Amassing a record of 53 victories in 56 bouts with 36 of those coming via KO, Canelo is not someone you would want to miss in action when he steps into the ring.
4. Deontay Wilder
When you have earned 41 KOs out of your 42 wins. it speaks volumes of your punching power and the ‘Bronze Bomber’ is all about that. The 2008 Olympic bronze medal winner has devastating power which can end any fight in a matter of seconds and that makes him one of the most exciting fighters of our time.
Wilder held the WBC Heavyweight title from 2015 to 2020. He earned $46.5m last year and fought “Gypsy King” Tyson Fury as well.
His first fight against Fury ended in a stalemate and was followed by a re-match which took place in February this year. The fight saw the “Gypsy King” knocking out Wilder in the 7th round. The boxing world certainly hopes that the ‘Bronze Bomber’ would come back stronger from this defeat to face his most difficult opponent for the third time in his career.
3. Anthony Joshua
UK’s poster boy for boxing Anthony Joshua came into the limelight when he represented England at the 2011 World Championship and won a silver medal. This performance was shortly followed by a gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics.
From there on, he went onto become a two-time unified heavyweight champion. He also held the British and Commonwealth heavyweight titles between 2014-2016 at the regional level.
Joshua’s earnings have been estimated at around $47m. He holds notable victories over five former World Heavyweight champions ( Charles Martin, Wladimir Klitschko, Joseph Parker, Alexander Povetkin and Andy Ruiz Jr.). He has been voted as the second-best active heavyweight fighter by The Ring magazine as of April 2020.
2. Conor Mcgregor
One of the most controversial figures in the world of MMA and combat sports in history, Ireland’s Conor McGregor came to prominence when he made his UFC debut in 2013. A former Cage Warriors featherweight and lightweight champion, McGregor knocked out his opponent Marcus Brimage in the first round.
One of McGregor’s biggest victories came against José Aldo, as he knocked out the Brazilian star in just 13 seconds to win the UFC Featherweight title. He then went onto have his two matches with Nate Diaz where he lost the first one via a rear-naked choke, but bounced back to win the second one through a majority decision.
McGregor then moved up a weight class to fight the Lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez and became one of the few fighters to win two division belts and the first to hold two simultaneous titles. His ability to trash-talk and back that up in the octagon was unmatched, It earned him the title “Mystic Mac.” It was this appeal that caught the eye of boxing legend Floyd Mayweather Jr.
They met in the boxing ring in August 2017, earning over $5m from PPV sales. He earned a total of $48m last year and recently announced his retirement from the sport, but we can never be too sure about his decisions.
1. Tyson Fury
The undefeated heavyweight Tyson Fury is one of the most feared competitors in modern-day boxing, more so after his recent victory over Deontay Wilder, who is known for his crazy knockout power. With this knockout victory, the “Gypsy King” became the third heavyweight fighter after Floyd Patterson and Muhammad Ali to hold The Ring magazine title twice and the first heavyweight in history to have held the WBA (Super), WBC, IBF, WBO and The Ring magazine titles.
Fury earned $57m in the last year, which makes him the highest-paid fighter in the world. It also puts him on the 11th position in the list of the world’s highest-paid athletes. With the kind of performances he is putting on display, his stock is surely going to rise with each passing day.