UFC superstar Conor McGregor retired right after Amanda Nunes’ win over Felicia Spencer at UFC 250. No combat sports fan is taking his announcement seriously. After all, the Ireland native has retired three times over the last four years.
McGregor has come back to the UFC every single time. UFC President Dana White recently said that McGregor’s sole focus before his sudden retirement was a rematch against Khabib Nurmagomedov. McGregor lost to Nurmagomedov via submission in the fourth round at UFC 229 on October 6th, 2018. “The Notorious One” has wanted a second chance at the reigning UFC lightweight champion for a while.
Why McGregor “Retired”
Nurmagomedov is busy for the rest of 2020 and there’s nothing on the horizon for McGregor. At least nothing that interests him enough to keep training. This led to his decision to retire again.
McGregor, the first fighter to hold UFC championships in two different weight divisions at the same time, was interviewed by ESPN’s Ariel Helwani the morning after announcing his retirement.
“The game just does not excite me, and that’s that,” McGregor told Helwani. “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.”
McGregor explained that “there’s nothing there for me” and that the UFC could have booked him against Justin Gaethje for the interim lightweight title. He then added that the promotion wanted “to show some kind of power” by making him wait for the outcome of the Nurmagomedov-Gaethje fight.
To sum it up, he wasn’t happy with his opponent choices so he decided to leave.
“They should have just kept the ball rolling,” McGregor said. “I mean, why are they pushing [Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Justin 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.
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.”
Dana White’s Reaction
UFC President Dana White believes that McGregor is on the right path right now, even if he calls this a “retirement.”
“I think the best thing for Conor to do right now is what he’s doing, sitting back, spend time with his family, stay in shape and see how this thing plays out,” White said on ESPN’s “First Take.”
When McGregor comes back, which most expect him to do based on his track record, White suggested that he might still be in line for a shot at Nurmagomedov’s title or a fight against Jorge Masvidal.
“He can go for a shot at the [lightweight] title, and he can always fight Masvidal… that fight’s not going anywhere,” White added.
White also suggested that McGregor, Jon Jones and Jorge Masvidal might be “gunning at” him over how much money they think they should be getting paid.
“If that’s what Conor is feeling right now — Jon Jones, Jorge Masvidal, I feel you,” White told ESPN. “It’s not like I’m going, ‘Holy s—, 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.”
Fighters Who Called Out McGregor
Rafael dos Anjos
Former UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos called out McGregor on Twitter, saying that he would fight him at either lightweight, welterweight, or at 165-pound catchweight.
McGregor and dos Anjos were scheduled to be the main event for UFC 196 in 2016. It was going to be a champion vs. champion lightweight fight. McGregor was the featherweight champion at the time while dos Anjos was the lightweight champion.
The fight never happened because dos Anjos broke his foot less than two weeks before it was supposed to take place. Nate Diaz replaced him and McGregor lost via submission in the second round. Rafael dos Anjos and Conor McGregor were never booked to fight again.
Former interim lightweight champion Tony Ferguson shared a video on Twitter aimed at McGregor. Ferguson wrote “Mcnugget Monday,” his nickname for McGregor.
Ferguson is currently ranked No. 2 in the division. Conor McGregor is No. 4, so a fight between them makes sense from a rankings standpoint. Tony Ferguson has been wanting to face McGregor for a while and it would be an exciting clash that could determine the next lightweight title contender.
- Justin Gaethje +110
- Conor McGregor -130
- Conor McGregor +285
- Kamaru Usman -350
- Conor McGregor -105
- Anderson Silva -115