Most Popular UFC fighters in the Middle East

The UFC has been one of the biggest mixed martial arts (MMA) leagues in the past decade. Growing quickly into the juggernaut that it is today. The UFC has seen incredible popularity in the Middle East in recent years. The UFC has hosted many events in the region. UFC 257 took place in Abu Dhabi back in January 2021.  It is easier than ever for fans of the sport to watch the action in the Middle East with the launch of UFC Arabia. The first Arabic language streaming platform to watch UFC action. So, who are the biggest stars in the Middle East?

Khabib Nurmagomedov

Khabib Nurmagomedov is widely considered to be the most popular UFC star in the Middle East. The 33-year-old is also considered to be one of the best MMA stars to have ever stepped foot in the octagon.

Nurmagomedov made history by becoming the first Muslim champion in UFC history. He has also taken part in several matches that have attracted record numbers. Khabib was the favorite with UFC betting websites every time that he stepped foot in the octagon.

The biggest fight of his career came at UFC 229 in October 2018. He defeated Conor McGregor to defend his UFC Light Heavyweight Championship. He defended the title on three occasions and retired without having lost in any of his 29 matches. His final bout in UFC came in October 2020. He unified the Lightweight division by beating Justin Gaethje by Technical Submission at UFC 254 in Abu Dhabi. There are still growing calls for Khabib to come out of retirement for one final fight.

Conor McGregor

It is hard to talk about the most popular UFC fighters of all time without mentioning Conor McGregor. The Irishman took part in all top five highest-grossing events in the company’s history. McGregor has won UFC titles at two different weight classifications: lightweight and featherweight.

Conor has flirted with possible WWE bouts and saw his popularity reach new heights after his boxing match with Floyd Mayweather. That bout drew 4.3 million viewers on PPV. Making the match the second most popular combat event in sports history. Conor McGregor made his return to the UFC in Abu Dhabi at UFC 257. Dustin Poirier defeated McGregor in the second round. He also returned for a highly-anticipated trilogy bout at UFC 264 where he lost by TKO stoppage in the first round.

Stipe Miocic

Stipe Miocic has become one of the most popular fighters in the Middle East. He has been a dominating force in the heavyweight division throughout his career. The heavyweight division is still seen by many as the elite weight classification. Heavyweight bouts often get more attention than others.

Miocic holds a collection of prestigious UFC records in the heavyweight division. Most notably he holds records for most wins in title fights and the longest win streak.

A quite person generally, many would like him to be more flash outside the octagon. Instead he allows his dominance against opponents to do the talking for him. He has over 1.5 million followers on Instagram, and has enjoyed many huge bouts in recent years. His memorable trilogy series against Daniel Cormier saw him come out on top at UFC 252. Yet, he recently lost the Heavyweight title after a bout against Francis Ngannou at UFC 260.

Ronda Rousey

Ronda Rousey is one of the most important fighters in the history of the women’s division. She moved the sport to a new level during her career. Most importantly, she ensured that female fighters compete on the same platform to perform as the men.

Rousey became the first women’s bantamweight champion in UFC. She defended the title against Liz Carmouche in the first-ever female fight on a PPV. She would go on to defend her title on six occasions, making her the most successful champion in the division’s history. Despite incredible success, her UFC career came to an end after back-to-back defeats against Holly Holm and Amanda Nunes. Still, she was recognized for her integral part in UFC history. In 2018 she cemented her place in history as she was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame.

The Final Round

The success of the UFC in the Middle East means that the popularity of the biggest stars is likely to continue over the coming decades. The introduction of the Arabic-speaking streaming service has made it easier than ever to watch UFC fights. Continued success in hosting events in the region will also continue the UFC’s popularity.