While most people were sleeping, former UFC featherweight and lightweight champion Conor McGregor put out a tweet saying that he has retired from MMA. Below is the full quote from his tweet:
“Hey guys quick announcement, I’ve decided to retire from the sport formally known as “Mixed Martial Art” today. I wish all my old colleagues well going forward in competition. I now join my former partners on this venture, already in retirement. Proper Pina Coladas on me fellas!”
At first glance, it’s hard to take McGregor seriously. After all, this isn’t the first time he’s said he’s retired from MMA. The other time he tweeted something similar came after he was submitted by Nate Diaz in a shocker at UFC 196. Just a few months after tweeting that, he was back in the cage, winning a majority decision over Diaz at UFC 202. So whenever McGregor tweets something about retiring from MMA, you have to keep in mind he’s pulled this stunt before.
At second glance, though, there could be something more to this. After all, McGregor doesn’t need MMA anymore. It’s just a matter of whether or not he has that burning passion to step into the cage, because as far as finances go, he’s set for life. The Floyd Mayweather boxing superfight in 2017 made McGregor upwards of $100 million, and that financial windfall help set him up for success with Proper 12 whiskey. McGregor doesn’t really truly “need” MMA anymore. But he is a competitor, and he likely doesn’t want to go out on a devastating submission loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229 in his last bout, not to mention all the shenanigans that went along with it.
If anything, this could all be a negotiating tactic by McGregor. It’s smart for McGregor to get the attention of MMA fans and media. He hasn’t even fought in almost a year and yet is still talked about more than almost any other fighter. He’s clearly a very smart guy. The UFC has had discussions with McGregor about returning at UFC 239 in a co-main event bout against Nate Diaz, but McGregor has been adamant he wants to fight in the main event, and it appears that’s at the crux of his beef with UFC president Dana White and co. This could all be McGregor posturing and trying to get the UFC to call his bluff, but it remains to be seen.
Without McGregor, the UFC will have to go ahead and book UFC 239 without him as a potential fight. The rumors are that the UFC wants to do Daniel Cormier against Brock Lesnar for the UFC heavyweight title in the main event, and there are plenty of other options for the card including Kamaru Usman vs. Colby Covington for the UFC welterweight title. As much as the fans want to see McGregor come back and fight someone like Diaz, and as much as it seems like the promotion needs McGregor, they really don’t, and the UFC’s well-oiled machine will continue to move forwards with or without the Irish superstar.