Plenty of questions surround UFC following the biggest event in the company’s history. UFC has just been sold for a reported price tag of $4 billion, and after UFC 200, the biggest names in mixed martial arts are pondering their futures inside the octagon.
Brock Lesnar and Conor McGregor are the top draws in UFC history. While only the former fought on Saturday’s card, both fighters could have upcoming fights based on the results of UFC 200.
Much is unknown about Lesnar’s future with UFC. He’s still under contract with WWE, and when it was announced that he would return to MMA on July 9, it was described by WWE as a “one-off.” But following his dominant victory over Mark Hunt, Lesnar indicated that more UFC fights could be in his future.
Lesnar is scheduled to face Randy Orton at WWE’s SummerSlam 2016 on Aug.21 in Brooklyn, and he’s expected to wrestle at the company’s biggest pay-per-views over the next few years. But after defeating the No.8 ranked heavyweight following nearly a five-year layoff, Lesnar isn’t ready to close the door on his MMA career.
"Let's get one thing clear: Brock Lesnar does what Brock Lesnar wants to do," Lesnar said on Saturday night. "I believe that my future is already laid out for the next month. I'm doing SummerSlam against Randy Orton, and once the dust settles, I'm not sure what I'm going to do. I had one hell of a time tonight and I enjoyed myself. We'll see what happens."
The buys for UFC 200 aren’t yet known, but Lesnar was in the main event of UFC 100 in 2009, which held the record for PPV buys heading into Saturday. He was reportedly paid a record guarantee of $2.5 million for Saturday night, and he could face a top heavyweight late in 2016 or sometime in 2017 if WWE allows it.
There has been speculation that a top UFC fighter will appear at an upcoming WWE PPV as part of the company’s agreement to allow Lesnar back inside the octagon. At the very least, WWE received additional advertising, as UFC promoted SummerSlam with a video package during Saturday’s PPV.
McGregor was initially supposed to headline UFC 200, but his well-publicized objection to his promotional duties for the event forced UFC president Dana White to pull him from the card. Instead, his rematch with Nate Diaz will be the main event of UFC 202 on Aug. 20, the night before SummerSlam.
The first fight between McGregor and Diaz that headlined UFC 196 in March helped draw huge PPV numbers, prompting White to call it “the biggest PPV we ever did,” even if the buys were shy of what UFC 100 generated. After McGregor suffered his first ever loss in UFC, his attempt at revenge against Diaz should be another financial windfall for UFC.
No matter the result of his welterweight fight with Diaz, McGregor knows his next scheduled opponent. Jose Aldo won the interim featherweight championship by defeating Frankie Edgar at UFC 200, earning him a title shot. McGregor won the 145-pound belt by defeating Aldo at UFC 194 in December, and now the former champ has won the right to get his rematch.
— #UFCSiouxFalls (@ufc) July 10, 2016
McGregor was at T-Mobile Arena on Saturday to witness the interim title fight in person, and he’s indicated that he plans to defend his featherweight belt after facing Diaz at 170 pounds. But there has been speculation that McGregor won’t come back down to 145 pounds by the end of 2016, which could force him to drop the belt, making Aldo the new featherweight champ.
McGregor-Aldo II could headline UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 12. If that’s the case, it will be 11 months before McGregor defends his featherweight belt.