Early Sunday morning, against the backdrop of the UFC 250 Women’s Featherweight championship main event, one of mixed martial arts’ greats called it a career for the third time.
Conor McGregor (22-4), who most recently fought Donald Cerrone (36-14, one no-contest) in UFC 246’s main event in January and won by knockout just 40 seconds into the fight, took to Twitter to announce that he’s retiring from the sport.
This is nothing new:
McGregor’s retirement announcement, the third of his MMA career, comes less than five months after he became the first UFC fighter to achieve knockouts in three separate weight classes (Featherweight, Lightweight, and Welterweight) in his first Welterweight fight since 2016.
“The Notorious” made it official on Twitter Sunday:
Hey guys I’ve decided to retire from fighting.
Thank you all for the amazing memories! What a ride it’s been!
Here is a picture of myself and my mother in Las Vegas post one of my World title wins!
Pick the home of your dreams Mags I love you!
Whatever you desire it’s yours ❤️ pic.twitter.com/Dh4ijsZacZ
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) June 7, 2020
Past retirement history:
This is McGregor’s second retirement in 14 ½ months.
In March of 2019, just hours after McGregor’s appearance on a broadcast of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on NBC, he tweeted this:
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!
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) March 26, 2019
That retirement announcement drew the ire of Khabib Nurmagomedov, who fought McGregor in UFC 229 the previous October in a fight that ended in an infamous brawl, resulting in lengthy suspensions for both men.
Looking back on a career that was:
He began his time in the cage with a TKO victory in the second round of his match vs. Gary Morris during Cage of Truth 2 on Mar. 8, 2008.
He followed this up with a first-round TKO of Mo Taylor less than two months later in Cage Rage Contenders: Ireland vs. Belgium, before later parlaying his career into a stint with English MMA promotion Cage Warriors.
During his time in Cage Warriors, McGregor held the promotion’s Featherweight and Lightweight titles concurrently. He later surrendered those belts when he joined the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
“The Notorious” in UFC:
His UFC promotional debut took place on the late FUEL TV on April 6, 2013 in Stockholm. That night, McGregor he scored a first-round TKO of Marcus Brimage, pocketing the $50,000 Performance of the Night bonus in the process.
In the first FS1 UFC Fight Night the following August, Conor McGregor defeated Max Holloway by unanimous decision in Boston.
McGregor later had two championship stints, one at Featherweight, one at Lightweight.
Last two fights:
Conor McGregor split his last two MMA fights, including the win against Cerrone back in January.
One question, however, still remains:
Is McGregor’s third retirement the charm?
Within minutes of McGregor’s tweet, UFC commentator and stand-up comedian Joe Rogan, who was onsite at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas for UFC 250, appeared on SportsCenter with his thoughts on the announcement.
Rogan didn’t find it genuine, saying:
“I don’t buy it for a second. I think Conor McGregor’s trying to get you to talk about him and you just did. What better way to get people to talk about him when there’s a spectacular fight filled with people dominating. What he did was just sort of hijack the situation and say he’s retiring. I’m not buying it.”
Dana White’s response:
UFC President Dana White had this to say:
“First of all, let me reiterate: We’re in a pandemic and the world is a really crazy, confusing place right now—and I think that a lot of people are feeling this. Listen, you don’t think that I do? You think that what I’m doing right now is easy at all? I mean, there’s three times a day I throw my hands up, I’m like, ‘I’m done, I’m done with this.”
White’s response continued:
“I understand what everybody’s going through, you know, and everybody wants a fight right now. You just said it yourself, we can’t move around. We can’t go to different arenas. There’s a lot of things we can’t do, and I think a lot of people are frustrated right now. Frustrated and upset, mad, confused. I think the world is very emotional.”
White’s final thoughts:
Dana White ended with:
“I’ll say it again, I told everybody, you don’t have to fight. We’re not going anywhere. You can retire, you can say I’m not going to fight. You can do whatever you want right now. 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.”
The possibility of a genuine retirement from McGregor gained some momentum on Sunday when ESPN’s Ariel Helwani interviewed him.
McGregor unmoved by possible opponents:
In that interview, McGregor cited the lack of an appealing match-up as the impetus for his retirement, saying:
“The game just does not excite me, and that’s that. 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.”
Whether or not this retirement is the charm remains to be seen, so stay tuned.