Conor McGregor puts bums on seats and, more importantly he pulls in the pay-per-view numbers perhaps better than any other fighter in the promotion's history. That's a big claim to make and you can only really say it when he manages to headline a card that gets close to the insane numbers that paid to watch the extravaganza that was UFC 100.
If he does take part in UFC 200 as John Kavanagh has suggested then we may well see the 1.6 million PPV buys that no UFC event has even got close to since July 2009. However, it's looking possible that he may yet, if not hit the record, then at least come closer to it than any other fighter in the past six years.
That may come as soon as the figures for UFC 194 are released. We say it as if McGregor is doing it on his own and that's extremely unfair given the standard of fighters on Saturday night's card. However, if there was any doubt about the McGregor effect then that will quickly start to fall away over the next few weeks.
The PPV numbers for UFC 194 won't be out for at least a couple of weeks, but the figures for the prelims on Fox Sports 1 have been released and they have absolutely blown away previous records.
#UFC194 prelims averaged 1.93 million viewers. Peaked at 2.38 million for Faber vs. Saenz. Biggest PPV prelim ratings in FS1 history
— Damon Martin (@DamonMartin) December 15, 2015
UFC 194 has already smashed the UFC's US gate records with $10.1 million brought in from those in the arena on Saturday night and the PPV record is looking increasingly possible judging by those numbers for the prelims on Fox.
UFC 189, headlined by McGregor and Chad Mendes, reached the magic 1 million PPV buys according to the UFC back in July. If that is the case then the prelim figures for UFC 194 would suggest crazy levels of interest. The July card only pulled in an average of 847,000 viewers for the prelims.
The fact that Urijah Faber was on the prelims will have gone some way to the huge increase to 1.93 million this time around but it's also an indication of the ever growing interest in McGregor across the world. The previous record for average prelim ratings on Fox was 1,554,000 according to MMA Fighting, that was UFC 168, the stacked card with Anderson Silva vs Chris Weidman and Ronda Rousey vs Miesha Tate.
There's no guarantee that prelim viewers on Fox automatically translates to PPV buys for the main card but it's fair to say that it's a very good indication of the interest in the main event. It may be a bit of a stretch to think that McGregor vs Aldo can reach UFC 100 levels of PPV viewers but with UFC 200 on the horizon, it's looking good that McGregor could help defeat that long standing record sooner rather than later.