Late last night former UFC lightweight and featherweight champion Conor McGregor sensationally announced — via a tweet — that he was retiring from MMA. The Irishman’s announcement came just after UFC 250 wrapped up.
This morning ESPN MMA reported more details regarding McGregor’s decision to leave the sport.
A major source of disagreement between McGregor and the UFC appeared to be a which fights he should take and when he should take them.
“I laid out a plan and a method that was the right move, the right methods to go with,” said McGregor. “And [the UFC] 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 [Gaethje] for the interim title — and just kept the ball rolling.”
“I had my goals, my plans, the season. I had everything laid out,” added McGregor. “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.”
The disagreements over weigh classes appeared to be a real sticking point for McGregor and the UFC, with the former champion saying the promotion’s demands regarding this were ‘crazy’.
“I was cutting to 155, and then because I asked for 155, they wanted to show power and stomp all over me. I don’t know why they do this. But it was taken from me and then pushed back. So then I’m thinking I don’t want to be cutting if I’m fighting at 170. I have to be careful here. My body has to be correct to the weight. And then the 176 [lb fight with Anderson Silva] talk. I’m just over it, man.”
In his quotes to ESPN McGregor continually said he had lost excitement for MMA and that, after watching UFC 250 and UFC on ESPN: Woodley vs. Burns, there was “no buzz” for him.
The ‘Notorious’ one did say he would have been excited to fight former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva, but that even that match-up lost its glimmer once he began hearing negative feedback.
“I’m trying to get excited. I’m trying my best. And when the Anderson one came along, I was like, yeah, s—t, that’s a mad fight. And then everyone said he’s old and over the hill. I was, like, ‘What? Fighting a former light heavyweight and the middleweight GOAT, and the actual GOAT in my eyes, that’s not a rewardable fight?’ And you know, you’re actually right. It wouldn’t be rewarded. ... They’d say he’s old and he’s over the hill and he’s past his prime and all.”
If McGregor has in fact left MMA for good, he leaves on the back of a first round dismantling of Donald Cerrone at January’s UFC 246. That was his first fight since losing a lightweight title bout to Khabib Nurmagomedov in 2018.
No matter what happens next McGregor will undoubtedly be remembered for his meteoric rise in MMA, which lead to him becoming the biggest pay-per-view draw the sport has ever seen. Unfortunately, the 22-4 fighter (and 0-1 boxer) will also be remembered for his controversies. Those include derogatory and bigoted comments to opponents, multiple encounters with the law, and being named as a suspect in two sexual assault investigations by The New York Times.