Mixed martial arts has become much more popular in recent years, with the likes of the UFC gaining traction and notorious fighters such as Conor Mcgregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov bringing lots of attention to the sport. This article explores exactly how popular the sport is in the UK in terms of both viewership and participation.
MMA Statistics: The Short Version
We have summed up our key findings from our research here. More in depth analysis and research can be found further on in the article.
- Conor Mcgregor is the most popular fighter in the UFC, generating 389,000 searches on average per month in the UK.
- There are around 5,500 people looking to get into the sport each month in the UK.
- “UFC” is searched 1.45 million times per month in the UK.
How Popular is MMA in the UK in 2021?
We conducted a keyword analysis with the tool KWFinder and discovered that the search term “MMA” is searched 48,100 times on average per month in the UK alone. Furthermore, the sporting body “UFC” which has led to established popularity for the sport generates 1.45 million searches per month on average, which implies the huge demand for the sport in the UK in 2021.
We also conducted a Google Trends analysis to visually observe how the popularity of the UFC has increased over the past few years. This graphic is displayed below.
Google Trends reports on the popularity of the search term “UFC” since 2004.
As you can see, there has been a steady increase in the number of searches for the “UFC” since 2004, highlighting its increased popularity. Notably, there was a sharp increase in popularity in 2016, coinciding with Conor Mcgregor fighting Nate Diaz twice. When comparing the popularity of the “UFC” and “Conor Mcgregor” on Google Trends, we can observe how closely linked the two terms are and the effect that Mcgregor has had on the popularity of the sport.
Google Trends reports comparing the popularity of the terms “UFC” (blue) and “Conor McGregor” (red) since 2004.
As displayed in the above graphic, Conor McGregor has had a profound impact on the popularity of the UFC in the UK which is understandable due to his likeable character and wide fan base.
How Many People Take Part in MMA in the UK in 2021?
In the UK, we analysed search volumes to better understand the number of people participating in mixed martial arts. The terms we analysed include “MMA Gyms Near Me” and “MMA Gloves”. Both of these terms indicate a specific intent of somebody beginning to take part in the sport as they are looking for somewhere to train and they are seeking out essential equipment. “MMA Gyms Near Me” is searched 5,500 times on average per month in the UK which is very similar to the number of searches for the term “MMA Gloves”, averaging 5,300 searches per month. The similarity of the two figures help to strengthen the connection between the two, highlighting and emphasising the accuracy of the estimate of the number of people getting into the sport each month.
Who Are the Most Popular Fighters in the UFC in the UK in 2021?
We conducted a keyword analysis using the keyword tool KWFinder to analyse the number of searches each month in the UK for the world’s best UFC fighters to discover which fighter is the most popular. The list of fighters we analysed consisted of the champions and the top 15 ranked fighters in each weight class.
Rank and Division
Average Number of Monthly Searches (UK)
All ranks obtained from the official UFC website.
In terms of search volumes, Conor McGregor is the most popular UFC fighter, with an average of 389,000 searches every month in the UK alone. This figure is almost five times greater than the number of searches for the second most popular UFC fighter in the UK, Israel Adesanya.
Darren Till is the only UFC fighter in our top ten most popular list that is from the UK, generating 48,400 searches per month in his home nation.
We also analysed the monthly search volumes for the recently retired #1 lightweight of all time, Khabib Nurmagomedov and he generates a total of 89,400 searches per month in the UK which would place him 2nd on our list of most popular fighters.
Summary: MMA Statistics UK Roundup
To conclude, in terms of being a spectator sport, mixed martial arts is extremely popular in the UK, with large popularity for certain fighters and the sporting body, UFC. There are a fair number of people participating in the sport even though this figure doesn’t come close to the number of viewers.
We hope that this article has helped you better understand the world of MMA and the popularity of the sport in the UK.