The world of Mixed Martial Arts is a tough one. Imagine being literally beaten up for a living. Did anyone else get flashbacks dating back to Middle School? Just us? Anyway, the idea behind MMA was to sort of add in the best of the best in the fight game across the multitude of martial arts in the world today. We would see people against each other in a one on one scenario where the best martial art won. This was done originally with Muhammad Ali vs Antonio Inoki in the Boxer vs Wrestler match on June 26, 1976. Then it progressed.
Eventually, the infamous Bruce Lee realized there was a need to blend styles together, and formed his own martial art named "Jeet Kune Do" in order to accomplish this. As it would blend multiple he learned into one, which likely would have evolved had he not tragically passed. Lee also would use some fights in his movies that would accomplish this as well. Such as the time he fought former Kickboxing World Champion and eventual famous tough man Chuck Norris in Way of the Dragon.
All of these men mentioned were before the UFC and were the pioneers of the MMA material that we see now. UFC is a huge company that has become a billion-dollar product and continues to grow. Some have come in and truly moved the meter there in a major way. Brock Lesnar helped to get them to major PPV numbers, then Ronda Rousey managed to help them increase revenue too. Finally, Jon Jones and Conor McGregor would show major drawing power too. Yet they all were paid very well for their time. Sadly, there are several in UFC who do not see the kind of revenue those people see.
We do not mean that they have zero dollars in their account and risk those horrible overdraft charges many of us worry about at the beginning of every month. They just don't have as much as others, so compared to their friends in the business, it is basically like they have no money! Even worse, these athletes are definitely not getting paid what they deserve. With that said, we've found 20 such UFC Fighters who are not making much despite their impressive record. We hope you enjoy!
20 Sage Northcutt
Sage Northcutt is currently 10-2 in his MMA career, with 5 of those wins occurring in the UFC. When he came into the UFC, there was a lot of hype around this kid. He arrived at a young age, being only 18 when he fought Francisco Trevino at UFC 192. He had previously taken part in Legacy FC and Fury Fighting before arriving at the Ultimate Fighting Championship. UFC brought him in due to his impressive look and undefeated skill in Legacy FC. He looked to be someone that was a clear star in the making. Sage had been fighting for the bulk of his life, as he was part of martial arts since he was a child. This made sense, as his father Mark Northcutt is a black belt in karate.
In Karate, very few could touch Sage. In total, he won 77 championships, medals, or trophies. He was the youngest person to ever appear on Sport Karate Magazine, doing it at the age of only 9. Black Belt Magazine inducted him at the age of merely 15 to their Hall of Fame due to his impressive record in karate. All in all, he has a black belt in Kyokushin Karate and a Purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. However, he is a master in other arts, having the rank of 3rd Dan(or degree) Black Belt in both Taekwondo and Kajukenbo. He also got into kickboxing, where is a perfect 15-0. MMA made sense to transition to. He currently, despite having 5 wins, has 2 loses in his UFC career.
Despite his impressive record and overall abilities, Sage is pretty low paid compared to some who have been around less time. He has a career MMA earnings total of a mere $484, 400. Compare this to CM Punk, who has 0-1 in his MMA career and still brought home over $500,000.
19 Karolina Kowalkiewicz
Karolina Kowalkiewicz is currently 32 years old and has a history in the world of martial arts. Her time in the UFC has been pretty eventful as well. Overall, her MMA career record sits at 12-2, with 5 of those wins happening in the UFC. This Polish-born MMA Fighter grew up learning martial arts and got involved in them fairly quick. She began training at the age of 16 in the Krav Maga Martial Art. This style has been known for its defense skills, as the Israeli Armed Forces train all their people in it. Even Wonder Woman, Gal Gadot, trained in this style and was an instructor for it while in the Israeli Armed Forces. Despite its defensive knowledge, the style can be a deadly and effective offensive martial art too.
Karolina would eventually take part in Muay Thia before turning pro in MMA after two amateur fights. She joined her native Konfrontacja Sztuk Walki (KSW) fighting promotion, becoming their Women's Strawweight Champion and earning a perfect 7-0 record with them after debuting in 2012. She would fight for Invicta FC before getting the call to join UFC. She started off hot, winning her first 3 fights. She would finally get a UFC Strawweight Title fight against another Polish Fighter, Joanna Jędrzejczyk. Joanna had been undefeated heading into this bout. Karolina took her to the limit at UFC 205, lasting all 5 championship rounds, but lost by decision.
Despite this, she kept coming back and would become 2-2 by then. She would win her last fight this past April in fact. Despite her clear abilities, she has not been paid as well as one would assume. Her MMA earnings sit at $403,000. Interestingly, Rose Namajunas would beat Joanna for the UFC Strawweight Title last year. Yet Karolina beat Rose years ago in the UFC. A title fight between them is clearly destined to happen, so perhaps Karolina will see an up in pay.
18 Royce Gracie
Royce Gracie comes from the legendary Gracie family that have mastered the art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and helped to revolutionize it. There is likely a Gracie studio somewhere near you in the United States, and a few in Brazil too. Royce is known to be one of the most influential fighters who ever lived, pretty much in part to his family name. However, it is also due to his time in the world of MMA. In fact, he helped to put MMA on the map originally. This is considered to be a pretty big deal by many. Royce competed at the very first UFC events. He would fight at UFC 1-5. Gracie competed 3 times in one night to win the UFC 1 Tournament, then 4 times in one night to win the UFC 2 Tournament.
He would go on to fight for Pride FC and K-1 Premium before coming back to fight Matt Hughes at UFC 60 in 2006. He is semi-retired, as he did come out for another fight at Bellator MMA in 2016 for Bellator 149. While he is a UFC Hall of Famer and never lost a fight for them in his original run, he has been pretty low paid throughout his MMA career. He has a career MMA earning of merely $400,000. This is in spite of his 15-2-3 record. To be fair to UFC's original run, it did not have the money that the group possesses today.
However, the later run against Hughes and his run in other promotions scream "underpaid" to many.
17 Antonio Carlos Junior
Antonio has a background in BJJ, which is what he uses in his MMA fights for the most part. He has a black belt in the martial art and has won multiple championships in Jui-Jitsu. This includes a World Cup Championship in 2006. Though he has knockout power, he would rather submit a man that KO him. Out of his 10 wins, 8 were ended by a submission. Antonio has won 5 straight with 2 happening on PPV and the last big one happening for the UFC on FOX 29 show.
Yet his total MMA earnings for his career sits at a mere $379,500. One has to wonder how a person like Antonio has remained so poorly paid compared to others in his division. As it currently stands, his impressive record puts him in line for a future UFC Heavyweight Title fight. The current champion, Stipe Miocic, has a lot of competition up next for him. Though if Antonio remains undefeated, one has to assume he'll get a shot at the title and more money with it.
16 Ben Henderson
Benson Henderson is currently being paid pretty well for his work in Bellator MMA, where he has earned $50,000-75,000 per fight for 4 events in his older run these days. Though he could have seen better in his UFC days. A while back, Henderson actually spoke out about the pay in the UFC and mentioned it was one of the reasons he left. While Henderson has a 25-8 career record, he won 11 of those fights in the UFC. He would get a lot of attention before entering the UFC due to his run in the WEC. The organization was good to Ben, as he earned 5 of his career wins there. He even won their Lightweight Championship. Of course, Henderson would go the UFC when Zuffa, the former owners of UFC, bought out a lot of their competition...including the WEC.
Henderson would join the UFC and do a great job there, winning multiple fights as mentioned earlier. He even won the UFC Lightweight Championship and had 3 successful defenses of the title before losing it. He would also earn a Fight of the Night. Of course, all of this sounds like it would pay Ben quite well, right? Sort of. His career MMA earnings sit at $1,800,000. While this may not sound like a small number, this is an earning of 33 fights. That averages out to $54,545 per fight. As mentioned earlier, in one fight with the UFC, CM Punk earned $500,000. To pretend like people are underpaid would not be hard to do, as it's a true fact that some are. Ben was clearly part of UFC as it was growing and becoming a force. He was there during the FOX deal too.
Obviously, he was paid well for some of his fights in the UFC. But to be criminally underpaid for his career is not cool to see. The highest pay her ever saw for a fight was $131,000. But he had to do a lot to earn this. He would get $33,000 just to be there, $33,000 due to his win, and then he earned the extra $65,000 for the Fight of the Night. In total, he was only guaranteed $33,000 and would have only earned $66,000 with the win. If not for nearly doubling his pay with the Fight of the Night, he would have seen a low sum. Yet he saw a $75,000 deal in the smaller Bellator promotion. Can anyone see the problem here?!?
15 Shane Carwin
Brock Lesnar was a top name, but he barely had any time in MMA before getting picked up by UFC. He was thrust into the top match-ups and won a great deal of them. Yet Carwin earned his way up and even held the gold. Yet his TOTAL earnings in MMA, including all 6 of his UFC fights, is a mere $281,000. Having top fights with Frank Mir, Brock Lesnar, and Junior Dos Santos makes many feel that he earned a better payday. Yet he never got it. Carwin was a wrestler, who used his size and skill on the mat to help him win fights. This often got him the win against people who could not match well against wrestlers.
Brock and Junior had a wrestling background, which is why the only two losses he suffered came at the hands of other trained wrestlers. Overall, Carwin had a good MMA career. However, to see an earnings list where Carwin was paid pennies compared to other fighters is a clear joke. Especially when the heavyweight division was never hotter than in the period he was fighting in UFC.
14 Joe Lauzon
On average, Joe makes anywhere between $15,000-$25,000 per fight. Of course, a win bonus can come about, as well as post-fight awards. Joe has a Fight of the Year to his record. However, he also has a KO of the Night, 7 Fight of the Night, and 6 Submission of the Night honors. He also has the most finishes in the history of UFC's Lightweight division. Joe mentioned that while his guaranteed sum might not be as high as others, he has good sponsorship deals. Though if he wins a fight or gets a post-fight award, he can see his earnings go up on any given night. For example, even in a loss, two fighters can get paid well for the Fight of the Night.
It is quite horrific that a man who is seemingly a guarantee every time for a good fight somehow does not make the same amount of money as some other veteran fighters in the UFC. Overall, UFC pays some people badly. But to see Lauzon come out with this many post-fight awards and STILL be paid low....it's simply wrong.
13 Paige VanZant
It's an interesting situation with someone like Paige VanZant. She is gorgeous, which obviously puts her higher up in the UFC marketing wise. One would assume that the pretty face who has become a big name in the world could likely get a higher payday. However, it is not always about being beautiful. MMA is about the fight, not always about the look. Though UFC has employed some beautiful women, these women can also kick butt and break a few limbs. Yet Paige is among those women and has been a proven success in MMA and the UFC overall. She is currently 7-4 in her UFC career. She started it off pretty hot, winning her first three fights in the UFC's Female Strawweight division.
She won Fight of the Night in her very first UFC fight and Performance of the Night in her last win. She transitioned from the Strawweight to Flyweight Division, and while she has not been a success lately, her overall name has gotten attention. Last appearing in a fight back in January for the UFC, Paige performed for ABC's Dancing with the Stars where she came in second place. She has been in a lot of commercials since, and UFC has used her in marketing for the promotion quite often.
That said, it might be surprising for you to learn her career MMA earnings sit at just $383,500. Of course, this includes all of her bouts in the UFC. Despite her name now being pretty popular, and the abilities she has shown...Paige is quite low-paid compared to what people think she makes from the promotion.
12 Tyson Griffin
Tyson Griffin fought with the UFC for eight years, from 2006-2014. He entered the promotion at a perfect 7-0. He would have a total win/loss record of 16-8 before retiring from the sport. His UFC career was pretty good, and he showed the world numerous times that he was one of the best Featherweight and Lightweight Fighters in the world. He took most opponents to the limit in UFC. Out of all his fights in the UFC, he took 13 of them to the third and final round. Even fights he won! He earned Fight of the Night 5 times, with one being Fight of the Year with Clay Guida in 2007. He also has a Submission of the Night.
Clearly, one could not claim to be the best in the Featherweight or Lightweight Division and not go through Tyson Griffin. He humbled people very quickly, and the proof is there that he was an amazing fighter. 5 Fight of the Night awards do not lie. He can knock you out or submit you. There is very little Griffin cannot do in the octagon, which is why people knew when they fought Griffin, they had to pack a lunch. He was not going to let them go early, even if he ended up losing. He'd last so long in fights that people wondered if he was some sort of bionic MMA fighter sent from the future.
That said, it might come as a surprise to you that out of his entire MMA career, Griffin earned a grand total of $547,500. To some, half a million seems like a lot of money. However, when one compares it to someone like CM Punk who saw near this even in a loss for his first fight GUARANTEED...there's a clear problem. Tyson deserved better, as he was one of the pioneers of two different divisions in the UFC.
11 Thiago Santos
Thiago Santos is a tremendous Brazilian MMA Fighter who has been in the UFC since 2013. He would officially get a job with UFC through his tremendous MMA career outside of the company. He was 8-1 overall and UFC felt he would be a great addition to the team. He caught their attention mostly through The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil 2. Though he did not win on the show, his impressive skills would show the UFC that he was worth the investment. Since coming to UFC, he has earned 9 wins. Overall, he has 17 wins and 6 losses. While it is true this Brazilian clearly has a background in BJJ, a purple belt, in fact, he also has other martial arts experience too.
Santos has a Green Rope in Capoeira and a black belt in Muay Thia. The last has often helped him in his fights, as Santos often uses his knockout power to put people to sleep. Though he can make people submit, he loves going after the head and he can put people down quickly. 9 wins in the UFC do not lie. All of his wins came from a KO or TKO victory. Overall, his entire MMA career earnings sit at $773,600. Depending on who one talks to, this is fair or unfair economic return on the work he has put in. Not all of this was earned in the UFC, however.
He has been the Performance of the Night on 2 occasions in the UFC and has 1 Fight of the Night on his record too. He is likely one of the most underpaid Middleweights in the UFC today, considering the division is red hot right now. With 17 overall wins and 9 of them in the UFC since 2013 in a hot division, it seems odd that his pay is lower than those with a less impressive resume.
10 Carlos Condit
While his nickname is one that we might not be allowed to use here, he was surely a natural born force that could rarely be stopped at the top of his game. Condit has been known for his impressive fights. Some of which have gotten so brutal that people wonder if they're watching MMA or 1998 WWE, as blood rolled down the face of the fighters as well as bruises that came about all over. Condit was a fighter that could get it done and excite fans every single time he did so. Condit has been with UFC since 2009 and has been a force ever since. His overall record in MMA sits at 30-12, but 7 of those wins happened in the UFC while 5 happened in the now UFC owned promotion of the WEC.
In the UFC, he has had the Knockout of the Night 2 times but the Fight of the Night 5 times. He is also a former Interim UFC Welterweight Champion. Condit usually got paid extra due to these post-fight bonuses. However, he never really had a great guarantee compared to other stars in the Welterweight Division. Before his fight with Robbie Lawler, Carlos saw nearly $60,000 just to show. For the Lawler fight, he saw $315,000 just to show. After this fight, he has seen at best a $115,000 guarantee just to show. This is odd considering Carlos is one of the most exciting fighters in the sport of MMA today.
Again, he has clearly moved the meter when it comes to amazing fights. He was so amazing that UFC has put him in numerous highlight reels to show off the promotion for years. Even in a loss, he can deliver a Fight of the Night. The pay he earned for one fight made sense, but to not even get close to that number before or after is clearly terrible to see. Especially since his loss to Lawler came at a split decision!
9 Brad Pickett
It seems that everyone universally agrees that one of the most underpaid people in the entire sport of MMA is Brad Pickett. While there are many others underpaid, it seems like a straight-up crime that Pickett has been held back so much. Overall, he is 25-14 for his MMA career. He has been in the UFC since 2013 and has had a lot of fights with the promotion. He has 5 wins, and though he has lost more fights than he has won in the UFC...it was usually by a closer margin than people like to admit. He has even been called one of the most exciting fighters to watch too, as he seems to consistently deliver one of the best fights of the evening.
Numbers don't lie, as he has won Fight of the Night 4 times in the UFC with a KO of the Night to his record as well. He even had a Fight of the Night in WEC. Overall, his MMA career earnings with UFC sit at around $769,000. He has not fought since 2017, and at 39, it appears he has retired from the sport. Though in his time he performed better than most and gave people exciting fights every time he stepped foot in the octagon. Usually, when people bring excitement to fights, they gain a huge following and Pickett certainly had that.
Many are surprised that he never cracked the $1 million mark despite being at such a high respect level with fans. Most who knew the UFC would tell you that any time Brad was on the card, they were excited as they knew a big fight was coming. To see his number so low compared to others in his division that he had good fights with is kind of surprising.
8 Nate Diaz
When we talk criminal career earnings, likely no one comes up more than Nate Diaz for present-day fans. The reason for this has to do with what he has done and the shocking amount he made for his fights compared to others. Overall, his MMA record sits at 19-11. It is a respectable number but 14 of those wins came in the UFC. It isn't as if Nate has beaten no one, or earned his way up. His career win list happens to include the likes of Jim Miller, Donald Cerrone, Michael Johnson, and even Conor McGregor. Heck, he choked out Conor McGregor! Diaz fought Conor in a loss afterward and has not fought since this point in 2016.
Nate and his brother Nick Diaz have been fun fighters to watch, but Nate has likely been the best among the two. While he did win The Ultimate Fighter 5, he is also tied for the most post-fight awards. This includes a Performance of the Night and Knockout of the Night. It also includes 5 Submission of the Night awards and 8 Fight of the Night awards. That's 15 in total. His career earnings are a little over $4,100,000. Some may say that is good, but for his career and after the big fights he has had? No. In fact, barring his fights with Conor, Nate Diaz has seen a guarantee of $20,000-$50,000 per fight. His numerous post-fight awards drove up his career earnings.
We did the math, and if you removed all post-fight awards and win bonuses for Diaz, his career earnings would sit at around $3,012,000. Though without the Conor McGregor fights, they would sit at only $512,000. As the McGregor fights paid $500,000 and $2,000,000 guaranteed for each respective fight. This proves that Diaz was underpaid literally his entire career before he'd take on and even beat UFC's top guy.
7 Ian McCall
McCall only had 6 fights in the UFC with 2 wins, but many feel he exited UFC because the pay he was given was nowhere near the worth he brought to the table. McCall will be fighting for another promotion for the second time since leaving UFC in 2015. However, while his fighting career seems to be slower than most, he usually delivers. Though his disclosed career earning sits pretty low. He has a little under $150,000 in total career earnings in MMA. Though undisclosed, it's actually around $290,400.
McCall has proven to be of value, but the UFC refused to pay him what he was worth despite proving his value to the company.
6 Alexander Gustafsson
Few people can argue when it comes to Alexander Gustafsson. The man is vastly underpaid. His record speaks for itself, as he sits at an 18-4 record. He has several top fights in the UFC with the biggest names in the Light Heavyweight Division. Notable names he has defeated include Thiago Silva and Shogun Rua. He has fought and sadly lost to Michael Johnson, Daniel Cormier, and Jon Jones. The latter two are among the highest paid when they fight. He has 10 total wins in the UFC, but the payout for his fights has been pretty low. Like Nate Diaz, he relied on post-fight awards for the bonuses. Combined with his win bonus.
Alexander's average payout per fight in the UFC was $25,000-$50,000. Meanwhile, it was odd for him when it came to the Cormier and Jones fights. He saw $37,000 guaranteed for the Jones fight and $44,000 for the fight with Cormier, the two biggest fighters in the division. Alexander has only one loss headed into the Jones fight and merely 2 heading into the fight with Cormier. Though his entire MMA career earnings put him at around $895,000...this number does not give the real guarantee that other fighters are given. Even ones he has beaten like Shogun. In fact, his first fight in the UFC only guaranteed him $3,000 and he won a grand total of $6,000.
Alexander is so underpaid that it seems crazy to believe he's been paid so low. While yes, his overall earning is high, the salary guaranteed is the thing we truly have to focus on. The top stars in the UFC often make bank. However, Alexander was one of UFC's brightest stars. Yet paid so little for it.
5 Demetrious "Mighty Mouse" Johnson
Demetrious Johnson has been called Mighty Mouse for several years due to his size and highly impressive abilities. He is an MMA legend, and clearly a UFC one. Get this, Johnson worked with the UFC from 2011-2017. He was THE Flyweight division. No one could touch him in this division for years. His MMA record sits at 27-2-1, but out of all the wins he attained, 15 of them happened in the UFC. He won the inaugural UFC Flyweight Championship and has yet to lose it. His reign is one that very few can ever come close to in UFC history. He has had eleven title defenses and zero loses for it. This is the most in UFC Flyweight history, but also the most title defenses for one reign in UFC history. He has also been one of the most exciting fighters to watch.
He, of course, set other flyweight records for the UFC, as he has the most consecutive wins in history. He won Fight of the Night twice and Performance of the Night four times. He has one Submission of the Night and a Knockout of the Night. He is only one of two UFC fighters to ever get all four bonus pay-outs. While his over MMA career earnings sit at $3,085,000...those bonus payouts and win bonuses also help add a ton to this total. He is the only person in UFC history to become the first champion in a division and retire as the champion of that division with the same reign. Johnson is clearly one of the greatest fighters in UFC history, but also MMA history.
The win bonuses would often be $29,000-$60,000. This is in addition to the Reebok sponsorship that a number of fighters had, which was around $60,000 depending on the fighter. While his latter fights saw a higher total just to show, it ranks among the least for a top fighter. The Heavyweight, Light Heavyweight, Women's Bantamweight, and Welterweight Champions all saw higher payouts with lesser records. This is odd considering Johnson has been thought to be the #1 pound for pound fighter in MMA when he was active. Even UFC President Dana White called Johnson the greatest fighter of all time. So how is he paid less than Ronda Rousey and Conor McGregor as well as CM Punk per fight?
4 Renan Barão
Renan Barão is one of the best MMA fighters of all time. Even before he arrived to the UFC, he was known as one of the best in the world. In fact, he held over 20 wins before arriving to the company in 2011. He held one of the longest unbeaten streaks in MMA history at one point. After he lost his initial fight in MMA, he continued to win. He won 10 fights in a row before being involved in a no contest due to an illegal soccer kick that forced the referee to claim he was not fit to continue. This made him 10-1-1. After this, he won seemingly every time he entered a fight. He would go 32-1-1 before dropping his first loss in NINE YEARS!!
He held the UFC Interim Bantamweight Championship and the official undisputed UFC Bantamweight Championship. Though he has lost his last two fights, he is still considered to be amazing. Yet his pay is not nearly where it should be. He has been with the UFC since 2011 and last fought for them in February of this year. He has a total career MMA fight earning of $1,189,000. This seems pretty high, but consider the number of fights he's had. He is 34-6, with 9 of his wins occurring in the UFC. He has beaten some of the top fighters in the Bantamweight division. He has beaten Uriah Faber, Michael McDonald, and Brad Pickett.
He has a Performance of the Night, Knockout of the Night, and Submission of the Night. That's along with three Fight of the Night awards. He averaged $50,000 guaranteed per fight, with the highest ever being $75,000. The latter was his fight with TJ Dillashaw. He'd actually be under the one million mark if we took away the "win purse" and post-fight awards. In fact, he'd nearly be at half a million. This ranks him as one of the best yet lesser paid top MMA fighters in history.
3 Ken Shamrock
Ken Shamrock was one of the few men in UFC history to be there at the start of it all. Though Shamrock did enjoy some success in the WWE, with a nice contract there, his UFC deal was not as good as he would have liked. His overall MMA career record is 28-17-2. The amount of fights alone ranks him among the greats, as very few have reached nearly 50 fights in their MMA career. Unlike some, Shamrock fought in a time period where there were not total contracts that kept people exclusive to one brand. This allowed Ken to work a UFC fight, and then go to places like Pride and Pancrase. In total, he has 6 UFC wins but had some of their best original fights, putting them on the MMA map.
He held the UFC Superfight Championship and defended it a few times before dropping it. He still has the longest fight in UFC history, at around 36 minutes. He had an amazing rival named Royce Gracie, who was also very underpaid. They both went into the UFC Hall of Fame together as the first inductees. In nearly 50 fights, his MMA career did not generate as much as people assume. Adding in his UFC pay, he made a total of $490,000 for his career.
While Shamrock is known for being an amazing fighter, it is sad that he made so little through his entire career. Though to be fair to UFC and all of MMA, Shamrock did most of his fights in the 90's when MMA was not nearly as huge. While he did do a few fights for Bellator MMA in 2015 and 2016, for the most part, his career was in the 90's and early 2000's. It is a shame he won so much and made so little compared to others.
2 TJ Dillashaw
While TJ has seen some good pay for his title fights, you'll find one thing to be pretty criminal. Cody Garbrandt took home $350,000 for the title fight against TJ, where TJ took home over $100,000 less. Funny story is, TJ was walking in as champion and beat Cody. In fact, he won the Performance of the Night and still did not get as much as Cody. Overall, his MMA career brought home $1,394,000. This is a big deal, but a lot of this is post-fight award and win bonus. He has had Performance of the Night four times and Fight of the Night three times. Add this to his eleven win bonuses, and you'll find that his earnings are quite low.
Those ahead of him in earnings? Clay Guida, Holly Holm, Roy Nelson, Mark Hunt, and Alistair Overeem. None of these people have the career record of TJ. To pretend as if Dillashaw is paid well would be horrific, as he has not been. It has become quite apparent that despite how good he has been, he will consistently be one of the most disrespected fighters in UFC history.
1 Joanna Jędrzejczyk
When it comes to people who have been in some of the most disrespected positions in the UFC, one name comes to mind more than most. That name is Joanna Jędrzejczyk. She has been considered the best female MMA fighter in history by many. She has a career record of 14-2. However, she went 14-0 before dropping her first loss and was one of the most unstoppable female fighters on the planet. She was the very first UFC Strawweight Champions and had 8 wins in the UFC before her first loss. She defended the title five times before dropping it too, which ranks among the best in the women's divisions.
Before getting into MMA, she was a kickboxer and had 27 wins out of 30 fights. She also got into Muay Thia, where she won 37 amateur fights out of 40. Her background in both of these areas made her one of best strikers of any kind in MMA history. Per fight, she would consistently destroy people in landed strikes. She holds the first, second, third, and fourth significant strike differential in UFC history. In that, she landed so many strikes more than her opponent that it became a record. Oh yeah, and she has the first and second biggest strike differential in a championship fight in UFC history. If that was not enough, she has the first and second record of total leg kicks in a single fight.
It seems as if we're pretty much done explaining the greatness of Joanna Jędrzejczyk. So what was her total MMA career earning? $1,736,000. While getting near $2 million may seem like a lot in over ten fights for a female. One has to add in the win bonus and post-fight bonuses. Joanna's pay per fight guarantee did go up. However, she still makes less guaranteed per fight than some other top champions with lesser records. She has fewer career dollars than Jim Miller, Nate Marquardt, Hector Lombard, Mark Hunt, and others that are less successful and impactful as Joanna.
Sources:[ The Sports Daily, USA Today, UFC, Bellator MMA, KnowNetWorth, MMA Fighting]