UFC 227 was a card that lived up to the hype. With two title bouts on the card, both highly anticipated rematches for different reasons, it was a massive show that excited the crowd in attendance.
The first title bout was in the flyweight division. Demetrious Johnson has long been considered one of the pound-for-pound greatest fighters of all time, took on Henry Cejudo in a rematch. It was a fight that saw Cejudo shock the world and end Johnson’s record-breaking title run as he took a close split-decision.
The main event was in the bantamweight division as fierce rivals TJ Dillashaw and Cody Garbrandt faced off for the title. Dillashaw had won the title in their first bout, and came in as the defending champion. This time, he didn’t even need a full round to dispatch Garbrandt with some pinpoint-accurate strikes.
And while MMA has long been criticized for a fighter pay grade that doesn’t match the growth or reach of the sport, this show saw all four men involved in the headliners make six figures. The pay went as follows:
- TJ Dillashaw ($350,000, No win bonus in contract)
- Cody Garbrandt ($200,000)
- Henry Cejudo ($100,000, No win bonus in contract)
- Demetrious Johnson ($380,000)
Veterans Thiago Santos and Cub Swanson got close to six figures, pocketing $96,000 and $90,000 respectively. This doesn’t include any undisclosed PPV cuts or “locker room” bonuses. These figures also don’t include taxes, licensing fees, or insurance costs.
Now the question for the headliners is where do they go from here? Dillashaw is easily a contender for bantamweight GOAT at this point. If the last man to ever beat him, Dominick Cruz, can get healthy, a rematch would be an easy choice for the next title defense.
But Dillashaw may also have another opponent waiting for him – Henry Cejudo. He admitted he felt overlooked during the buildup to the card. A fantasy match between Dillashaw and Johnson has long been discussed, but never materialized. Cejudo even called out a participant on a conference call for overlooking him, simply asking Johnson whether he would consider facing the winner of Dillashaw/Garbrandt next.
Cejudo, who won an Olympic medal in wrestling, called out Dillashaw after his win and says he wants to become a two-division champion. But there’s an easy case to be made that Johnson, who had eleven title defenses and beat Cejudo on one of the judge’s scorecards, will get an immediate rematch.
As for Garbrandt, he’s in a tough spot. Now 0-2 to the division’s kingpin, he’s tasked with a tough journey moving forward. But now a father and devoted family man, he has a lot of other positive things to focus on as he contemplates his next professional move.
UFC 227 had a total disclosed payout of $1.707 million, and represents a good payout for all the card’s headliners. Moving forward with this type of momentum, the fighters who carried such successful main events will have more leverage moving forward.