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Jones vs. Cormier does UFC's best pay-per-view numbers in a year

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

As was expected with the buildup, UFC 182 was the most successful event for the company since UFC 168, with early cable estimates of the show headlined by Jon Jones vs. Daniel Cormier for the UFC light heavyweight title coming in at between 740,000 and 820,000 pay-per-view buys.

The number was more impressive given it went head-to-head with the Baltimore Ravens vs. Pittsburgh Steelers NFL playoff game that drew 28 million viewers, and both the NFL and UFC strongly hit the adult male demographic. Another key is that when UFC draws out of its usual range for a big fight, it is usually hitting the sports fan audience, so going against the NFL playoffs impacts the bigger shows more than the shows that draw the usual UFC pay-per-view base audience.

Dana White had predicted 750,000 buys before the show, and then after the show said that the preliminary word he got is that they would beat that number handily.

Jones' prior record was estimated at 700,000 buys for his April 21, 2012, title defense against former training partner Rashad Evans.

The fight featured some of the most biting back-and-forth dialogue since the Evans vs. Rampage Jackson fight in 2009, a wild altercation in the lobby of the MGM Grand Garden Arena, and outtakes of a conversation both men  had when they didn't realize they were on satellite to sportscasters around the country.

It also featured as strong a match-up of previously-dominant fighters in UFC history, with Jones considered the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world, who had never tasted a true defeat, and Cormier had never even been in a significant disadvantage point in his 15 prior fights where he had won every round.

The last show to beat those numbers, UFC 168, took place on Dec. 28, 2013, with two heavily anticipated championship fights, with Chris Weidman vs. Anderson Silva and Ronda Rousey vs. Miesha Tate.

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