Skip to main content

List: The 10 Highest-Paid Athletes In The World This Year

Conor McGregor flexing his biceps.

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 11: UFC Featherweight Champion Conor McGregor reacts during UFC 205 Weigh-ins at Madison Square Garden on November 11, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

The last 12 months have been some of the craziest that anyone alive can remember. But even during a global pandemic, some professional athletes managed to pocket a ton of dough.

On Wednesday, Forbes released its list of the highest-paid athletes between May 1, 2020 and May 1, 2021. There were a few newcomers to the list as well as some very familiar faces. But the top spot belonged to a man who loves to flash his cash.

Coming in at No. 1 for 2020-21 is UFC superstar Conor McGregor. He earned a whopping $180 million over that span, mostly from endorsements and the sale of one of his companies. Less than 10 percent of that money came from his one UFC fight - a loss to Dustin Poirier earlier this year.

Among American athletes, Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott came in first with $107.5 million thanks to the massive signing bonus he got with his new contract a few months ago. He edged out LeBron James by $11 million to overtake him for the top American earner.

As usual though, the biggest soccer stars in the world dominated the list with three of the top six playing the beautiful game for a living. Barcelona's Lionel Messi came in at second, followed by Juventus' Cristiano Ronaldo at third with PSG's Neymar in at sixth.

  1. Conor McGregor, $180m
  2. Lionel Messi, $130m
  3. Cristiano Ronaldo, $120m
  4. Dak Prescott, $107.5m
  5. LeBron James, $96.5m
  6. Neymar, $95m
  7. Roger Federer, $90m
  8. Lewis Hamilton, $82m
  9. Tom Brady, $76m
  10. Kevin Durant, $75m

Finishing up the list were tennis champion Roger Federer, Formula 1 superstar Lewis Hamilton, Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Tom Brady and Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant.

This list could change a lot next year. Dak Prescott probably won't make the list since his signing bonus won't count again. McGregor might not either.

Who made the list that surprised you?