Conor McGregor is calling it quits again. Now, who’d like to set the over/under on the date of his return bout?
For the third time in four years, McGregor, 31, announced his retirement over the weekend, citing his frustration with UFC scheduling and boredom with the sport. McGregor most recently scored a first round TKO of Donald Cerrone in January — his first fight in 15 months and second overall since 2016 — and claimed he wanted to fight at least three times this year, following his lengthy absence from the octagon.
“The game just does not excite me, and that’s that,” McGregor told ESPN. “All this waiting around. There’s nothing happening. I’m going through opponent options, and there’s nothing really there at the minute. There’s nothing that’s exciting me.
“I had my goals, my plans, the season. I had everything laid out. Obviously the world has gone bleeding bonkers at the minute. There’s f–k all happening at the minute….They want to throw me up and down weights and offer me stupid fights. I don’t really give a f–k. I’m over it.”
McGregor was supposed to fight for the lightweight championship against title-holder Khabib Nurmagomedov or Tony Ferguson, but the timeline became uncertain when COVID-19 forced Nurmagomedov to miss his bout with Feguson, who lost to replacement Justin Gaethje.
“They should have just kept the ball rolling. I mean, why are they pushing (Nurmagomedov-Gaethje) back to September? You know what’s going to happen in September, something else is going to happen in September, and that’s not going to happen,” McGregor said. “I laid out a plan and a method that was the right move, the right methods to go with. And they always want to balk at that and not make it happen or just drag it on. Whatever I say, they want to go against it to show some kind of power.
“They should have just done the fight – me and Justin for the interim title – and just kept the ball rolling.”
Gaethje was one of many scoffing at McGregor’s latest retirement announcement.
“Thankfully all of the elderly are still hiding in their homes,” Gaethje tweeted, referencing McGregor hitting an older man in a bar last year. “This guy is on another bender.”
Floyd Mayweather, who faced McGregor in one of the highest-grossing boxing matches of all-time in 2017, insulted the Irishman, too.
“If I’m not mistaken, didn’t you tell Mike Tyson you could beat me if we fought a second time?” Mayweather wrote under a McGregor Instagram post. “Now you’re quitting! I thought you wanted to beat the best? Well, if you decide to come back, I will be waiting to punish you again.”
Despite potentially losing one of the biggest names ever in the business, UFC President Dana White said he doesn’t plan to try and dissuade McGregor from his decision.
“If that’s what Conor’s feeling right now … on a certain level, I understand it,” White said. “Nobody is pressuring anybody to fight. And if Conor McGregor feels he wants to retire, you know my feelings about retirement — you should absolutely do it.
“And I love Conor. There’s a handful of people that have made this really fun for me and he’s one of them.
“It’s not like I’m going, ‘Holy s–t, this is crazy, this is nuts.’ Nothing is crazy and nuts right now, because everything is crazy and nuts right now, on a certain level. I totally understand it and get it.”
McGregor (22-4), the first-ever UFC fighter to simultaneously hold titles in two weight classes, previously announced his retirement in April 2016 and March 2019.
But McGregor’s coach, John Kavanagh, is already setting the stage for the seemingly inevitable comeback.
“At age 31 Jordan abruptly retired from basketball before the 1993–94 NBA season, he returned to the Bulls in March 1995 and led them to three additional championships in 1996, 1997, and 1998, as well as a then-record 72 regular-season wins in the 1995–96 NBA season,” he tweeted on Sunday.
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