UFC 164: Henderson Vs Pettis II is estimated to have been purchased by around 270,000 people on pay-per-view back in August.
That’s the word according to MMAfighting.com’s Dave Meltzer based on data from various sources.
While the number is nothing to write home about from the UFC’s perspective, it is a boost of 80,000 people compared to the last time Henderson fought on pay-per-view in a rematch against Frankie Edgar at UFC 150 almost precisely a year earlier.
Why this increased occured is open to debate and is perhaps due to more than just one factor.
The fact that Henderson had now cemented himself as the champion with two successful title defences would have helped, especially since they both occured on ‘UFC On FOX’ events which were watched by millions of fans.
Don’t discount the role played by Anthony Pettis too though. There’s always been significant interest in a rematch between these two after their initial title encounter at the last ever WEC show which resulted in the now famous ‘Showtime Kick’ off the cage and left Pettis as the last man to have beaten the champion.
The fact that Pettis is not afraid to speak his mind outside of the cage, and is dynamic, unpredictable and entertaining inside of it also means that he brings more hype to the fight than Edgar did.
It’ll be interesting to see how Pettis fares now that he has the belt around the waist. I do think he has the potential to be a more marketable star for the UFC than either Henderson or Edgar were.
For the time being though it looks like the UFC are going to keep him away from pay-per-view, instead putting his first title defence on ‘UFC On FOX 9’ in December.
That makes sense as it gives Pettis the chance to perform in front of millions of viewers and help build his name, while at the same time helps sidestep the fact that though his fight with Josh Thomson should be entertaining, it would not be considered a big draw on PPV.