Ilia Topuria confident he will overtake Cristiano Ronaldo as the ‘highest-paid athlete in the world’ by 2025

Ilia Topuria confident he will overtake Cristiano Ronaldo as the 'Highest-Paid athlete in the world' by 2025

If there is any one thing that Ilia Topuria lacks, it certainly isn’t confidence.

Even before his highlight-reel-worthy knockout of Alexander Volkanovski in February to claim the UFC’s featherweight crown, ‘El Matador’ was talking a big game. More importantly, he has backed it up every step of the way, going 15-0 and capturing a world championship in the process.

Ilia Topuria

With a horde of European fight fans behind him, Ilia Topuria expects to unseat famous footballer Cristiano Ronaldo as the world’s wealthiest athlete in the coming year.

“Look, I can tell you that I have no doubt that in 2025, I will be the highest-paid athlete in the world,” Topuria told Webpositer. “I’ll be there. I’d be surprised if I didn’t do it. I have no doubt, really” (h/t MMA Fighting).

Ilia Topuria

Ilia Topuria Doubles down on his BMF title demand

Given that so many of his predictions have already come to fruition, it’s hard to doubt anything Ilia Topuria has to say about his own career. However, to reach that next level, he’ll have to go through some of the toughest names in the game — namely Max Holloway.

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Holloway is coming off a career-defining knockout of Justin Gaethje at UFC 300 to claim the promotion’s bragging rights belt, the BMF title. That has all but guaranteed ‘Blessed’ a crack at Topuria’s featherweight strap — so long as Holloway puts his new hardware on the line as well.

Max Holloway

“You are the BMF champion, you have the opportunity for the title, to fight for the title,” Topuria said. “What are you going to do? Are you going to fight or are you not going to fight? He says, ‘Sign the contract,’ this, that, such and such. Where are you? Put the title in the game.

“What I said was how I’m not going to fight him if he doesn’t put the BMF belt on the line. [Holloway] was like, ‘That’s not the way a real BMF claims the title.’ You want me to come and put this belt on the table, and you don’t want to put yours [on the table]? That is, if you lose, you want to continue being the BMF. How does this work? I mean, what BMF are you?

Topuria vs. Holloway is without a doubt the No. 1 fight on every fight fan’s featherweight wishlist. Should ‘Blessed’ get passed over, ‘El Matador’ has his sights set on a rematch with Volkanovski or a potential showdown with division mainstay Brian Ortega.

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Brian Ortega

“If [the BMF belt] is not on the line, the only thing that makes it relevant, I would first give Volkanovski the opportunity for a rematch,” Topuria said. “Before that, I would fight Brian Ortega, who was much closer to finishing Volkanovski in one fight than Max did in three.

“[Ortega] always puts his face in there and he fights. He has won his last fight, he has several good victories. Would I like to go ahead against him, of course, I would, because right now it’s like who but him?”