Six Highest Paid UFC Debutants

Cung Le vs Scott Smith Cung Le ($350000)

Cung Le had a solid kickboxing career from the late 90s to the mid 2000’s, having gone undefeated in 17 bouts. Le also won accolades in Sanshou and Wushu before embarking on an MMA career with the now defunct Strikeforce. Le’s skills translated well in MMA, shown by his impressive 7-1 run in Strikeforce during which he won that organisation’s Middleweight champion. Despite his age (he was 39 when he had his first UFC fight), Le’s success led to a nice contract offer by the UFC. Unfortunately for the Vietnamese-American, his UFC debut was unsuccessful as he lost an entertaining back-and-forth fight against Wanderlei Silva at UFC 139. Le still made his show pay of $350,000 for the fight as well as an extra $70,000 bonus for being in one of two Fights of the Night at the event. Mirko Cro Cop $350000 When it comes to the most popular heavyweights in MMA, chances are Mirko ‘Cro Cop’ Filipovic will be somewhere up the top. That would have especially been the case in the early and mid-2000s, when Cro Cop fought for Pride. The Croatian was one of the best and most feared heavyweights of that organisation, with his high kicks having gained him hordes of fan in Japan and beyond. He fought and defeated a who’s who of fighters in Pride, including Josh Barnett, Wanderlei Silva, Heath Herring and Mark Coleman. That led to interest from the UFC, who eventually signed Cro Cop and put him against Eddie Sanchez at UFC 67. It was a successful UFC debut for Cro Cop, who finished Sanchez in the first round. It was also successful for his bottom line – his base pay for the fight was $350,000.

From Perth, Australia, Bruno has been an MMA fan on and off (mostly on) for 10 years. He did Taekwondo for a few years as a kid and dabbled in BJJ and Muay Thai as an adult, but is more an MMA fan than anything else. He is also an experienced journalist and writer, having written a number of articles on an array of topics.