The UFC is a mixed martial arts promotion company founded in 1993 by Art Davie and Bob Meyrowitz. It was established to provide a new type of fighting that would be more accessible to casual fans than traditional martial arts. It has become an important part of the hobby, as you will see in this intro to UFC cards.
The goal wasn’t to create an aggressive, violent spectacle but rather where fighters could show off their skills without being subjected to brutal violence outside the ring. UFC is a full-contact combat sport that allows both striking and grappling. Over the years, the sport has continued to experience growth. It also has its trading cards, which have become very popular among fans of all ages.
UFC, under the leadership of Dana White, has grown tremendously. It has become the premier pay-per-view sport, with 3 of the 5 top broadcasts in 2020. The sport is now viewed in over 160 countries, reaching 1.1 billion households. That is not all; UFC’s total revenue is about $609 million, and it has a total brand value of $2 billion. Little wonder that according to some ratings, UFC is considered the most valuable brand sports business globally.
It may prove to be the sport of the future. For example, the official UFC account has 27 million followers. Seven million more than the NFL and 20 million more than the MLB. It lags far behind the NBA with 58 million follows. The top NFL Instagram account is Tom Brady’s, with over 9 million. Meanwhile, there are three UFC fighters with more followers, led by Connor McGregor with 39.6 million. That means that the most prominent stars are massive pop culture figures.
While we can argue how significant that is, there is no question UFC is amongst the top sports for younger fans. It also has more scope for growth globally than most sports, as fans instinctively understand it.
Topps had been the exclusive company producing UFC cards from 2009 to 2020. However, the company was replaced by Panini America in an official partnership in 2021.
So, through this year, there will be tons of exciting new collections coming out for different fighters like Conor McGregor and Jon Jones Jr. Fans will be able to get their hands on them. Panini is making three extra sets this year. In July, there will be a Select release. Chronicles will come out in September. Meanwhile, the Immaculate release is slated for December as the final annual release of Panini’s first year of UFC.
Panini is also integrating UFC into their series of instant Panini Instant on-demand cards. These are released for 24 hours, and their sales begin right after an event or a significant fight.
UFC has officially handed Panini the exclusive right to the trading cards. And the trajectory so far has been nothing short of a fantastic reaction from UFC collectors.
UFC is a popular sport, but it seems like Topps was underwhelmed with how the cards are selling because of its small size market. However, there appears to be more of a sense of excitement around the Panini releases. It seems like many new collectors have shown interest in UFC cards because of Panini’s release.
The wax resale value for UFC releases is generally relatively high.
|Topps Chrome 2019||$199||$761|
|Topps UFC Knockout 2020||–||$629|
|Panini Prizm UFC||$95||$145|
According to the UFC official website, there are currently 724 UFC active fighters: 607 men and 117 women. Since we can’t exhaust the whole list, here are some of the stars we think you should know, both active and retired.
Francis is the heaviest hitter in UFC history. Very powerful, he is 6-foot-4 and weighs 255 pounds. He has 16 wins (12 KOs, 4 submissions) against 3 losses (3 decisions). Francis claims that his unfortunate child labor experience in Africa is the source of his power and strength as a puncher. His father died when Francis was 12. Maybe some of his power came from that loss and its aftermaths. Ngannous has defeated big names like Curtis Blaydes, Andrei Arlovski, Alistair Overeem, Cain Velasquez, and Junior dos Santo.
Kamoru is a wrestler from Nigeria. He has been crushing other fighters in the UFC since his debut appearance. He’s won more than 19 fights; 9 were by knockout or submissions. He beat Leon Edwards, Rafael dos Anjos, and Tyron Woodley to become middleweight champion. Usman also beat Colby Covington so badly that Covington’s jaw hung off its hinges after the fight. Now, Kamaru is beating opponents so quickly that he doesn’t have time to fight them again for a long time.
Nicknamed “Bones,” Jon Jones is one of the most talented fighters ever to enter an octagon. He has defended his light heavyweight championship belt five times since 2011. The lightweight won the belt against Mauricio Rua at UFC 128 in March 2011. Jon’s current fight purse for 2013 stands at $500,000 as he wages war with Alexander Gustafsson on September 21st, 2013 (UFC 178).
A sensation since 2018, Israel is the current UFC Middleweight Champion. The Nigerian-born New Zealand striker defeated Anderson Silva, Kelvin Gastelum, Robert Whittaker, Yoel Romero (twice), and Paulo Costa to defend his title five times this year alone! In March, he was upset by Jan Blachowicz, but he bounced back with victories against Thiago Santos and Jared Cannonier.
Also known as “The Pitbull, “Andrei is one of the most recognizable faces in UFC history, appearing on numerous talk shows outside of MMA. His total fight record currently stands at 27 wins and 11 losses, with seven KO/TKO victories, two submissions, six decisions, one disqualification victory, and five knockout defeats for an impressive 67% finishing rate. In addition to this, he has won three awards during his time with the UFC so far.
Conor is one of a kind. His unique fighting style, outspoken attitude, and bold behavior make him a fan favorite among MMA fans worldwide. And he’s been living up to his nickname “Mystic Mac,” which he got due to his touted ability to predict match outcomes. Even though the Irishman has lost twice to Dustin Poirier, he remains one of the most dominant fighters on earth (22-6-0).
Conor McGregor’s rookie cards are not only the hottest but also have been the highest-selling item in terms of collector interest in UFC trading cards.
Here are the stats on some important UFC rookie cards. All prices are for PSA 10s unless otherwise indicated:
|Card||Price||PSA 9||PSA 10||Total Pop|
|Georges St-Pierre Topps UFC Round 1||$8,500 (for a PSA 8)||1||1||3|
|Jon Jones 2009 Topps UFC Auto||$8,000||40||29||96|
|Conor McGregor 2013 Bloodlines||$3,750||14||14||33|
As you can see, pops are very low. As we have discussed previously, this is a crucial element in determining their value. The low numbers reflect how few are in circulation since UFC cards have become far more popular in recent years and rookies of this magnitude are likely to be graded if collectors have them in their possession.
The UFC is still behind other sports in its overall popularity. Therefore, the top cards are still worth far less than their equivalents in major sports. However, that can be a massive advantage, particularly if you are bullish on the prospects of the sport as a whole. If it continues to grow steadily, today’s big stars will later be legends. In addition, the lower popularity equals smaller print runs. That means greater scarcity and greater long-term value.
Another great advantage to the UFC as a collector is its relative predictability. It is hard to predict which teams and players will stand out when going into an NBA season. There are simply too many unknown factors to consider when there are 30 teams and over 500 players. However, UFC fights are scheduled months in advance, and predicting a match between two fighters is far more straightforward. In some cases, the best play for a massive fight is to invest in both fighters.