UFC 257: Conor McGregor's return against Dustin Poirier ranks third in all-time PPV buys – reports

Irishman suffered a shock KO defeat in Abu Dhabi but figures show his enduring popularity

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Conor McGregor’s return to the UFC in Abu Dhabi on Sunday ranked as one of the all-time highest pay-per-view buys for the promotion, according to reports.

On Monday, Sports Business Journal reported that UFC 257, the final event on Fight Island Triple Header, clocked 1.6 million buys – 1.2m on ESPN+ in the United States and 400,000 internationally – making it the third most successful in UFC history. Since the world's lead mixed martial arts organisation is not a publicly traded company it does not disclose financials.

McGregor's rematch with Poirier topped the bill at Etihad Arena, with the American sealing a devastating second-round TKO win. The bout marked McGregor's comeback to the octagon for the first time in more than a year – it was also his UAE debut – further proof the Irishman remains the sport's biggest draw.

UFC 229 in 2018, which was headlined by Khabib Nurmagomedov’s victory against McGregor, remains the promotion’s record pay-per-view generator, at a reported 2.4m. Meanwhile, UFC 202 in 2016, featuring McGregor’s win against Nate Diaz, apparently racked up 1.65m buys.

Should the report on UFC 257 prove correct, McGregor is now understood to have been involved in five of the top six most-selling MMA cards of all time.