UFC 241 is stacked with exciting veterans and you can tell by how many UFC post-fight bonuses they’ve won. Five for Daniel Cormier, seven for Yoel Romero and eight for Stipe Miocic and Anthony Pettis. But one fighter stands out: fifteen for Nate Diaz, who holds the second-place record for most UFC post-fight bonuses behind Donald Cerrone, who has won eighteen UFC post-fight bonuses.
Nate started fighting in the UFC in 2009, Donald in 2011 and to no fan’s surprise Donald has been much more active in that time. He has fought thirty-two times in eight years, nine more times than Nate has in ten years. But Donald is less likely to win a bonus on any given night. He won a bonus for half of his fights, but Nate wins a bonus for sixty percent of his fights.
Both men had fights that won Fight of the Night and Performance of the Night awards, a rare occurrence considering how hard it is to be dominant enough for a Performance of the Night victory while also having the kind of back-and-fourth action that merits a Fight of the Night bonus.
Nate won both awards at UFC 196 in his first fight with Conor McGregor which was also second place on the UFC’s list for the 25 greatest fights of all time, behind his second fight with Conor, and the competitive nature of both fights is what makes them so highly rated. Nate lost the first round— he got cut and spent the final seconds of round one on his back after trying to take Conor down off a kick. The highlight real after the first round was Conor landing three different left hands. But the tide turned in round two after a two-punch combination from Nate that rocked Conor. From that moment until the choke is one of the most exciting sequences of the sport for me.
Donald’s fight against Alexander Hernandez at UFC Fight Night 143 is also a tale of two rounds, one where Donald faced adversity by Alexander’s pressure and hard strikes at the start. As the round continued, Donald timed knees to the body when Alexander entered the pocket and targeted a cut under Alexander’s eye which Donald opened with an elbow as they broke from a clinch. Alexander partially blocked a head kick in the second round, but as the saying goes, “those can still hurt you” which it did, scoring a knockdown and giving Donald the opportunity to unleash brutal ground and pound, ending the fight with a TKO. Donald also won both bonuses the night he knocked out Melvin Guillard at UFC 150.
All About The Money
After fights as exciting as those, you get rewarded. Donald has won one million, ten thousand dollars in post-fight bonuses alone. The UFC hasn’t always given the uniform $50,000 per post-fight bonus, which benefited Donald as he earned some $65,000 and $75,000 bonuses. The same policy didn’t benefit Nate, however, who won several bonuses under $50,000, which makes the sum he’s won in bonuses alone less impressive, which totals to $725,000.
It’s hard to predict if Nate will one day beat Donald’s record. Neither fighter says they’re on the verge of retirement and both seem capable of adding to their tally considering both have had four bonus-winning performances in their last five fights. Not only that, but both have fights scheduled where I expect Fight of the Night awards, Nate against Pettis this weekend and Donald against Justin Gaethje at UFC Fight Night 158 on September 14th.