UFC superstar Conor McGregor shockingly retired over the weekend in the immediate aftermath of Amanda Nunes’ win over Felicia Spencer at UFC 250. The 31-year-old Irishman posted his retirement spiel via Twitter just as the UFC 250 pay-per-view ended, then offered more explanations than that post gave to ESPN’s Ariel Helwani early Sunday morning.
“The game just does not excite me, and that’s that,” McGregor said per 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.”
McGregor said “there’s nothing there for me” and that the UFC could have booked him against Justin Gaethje for the interim lightweight title but that the company instead wanted “to show some kind of power” by making McGregor wait for the outcome of Gaethje vs. UFC lightweight champ Khabib Nurmagomedov.
In short, McGregor wasn’t happy with his opponent choices for 2020 so he decided to pick up his bags and head out the UFC’s door for good.
“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.”
Of course, it should also be noted that this is the third time McGregor has announced his retirement in the last four years.
McGregor: ‘There’s No Buzz for Me’
McGregor told Helwani he’d had his retirement post ready for two weeks now, and that he wasn’t making a rash decision. The former UFC “champ champ” said the last two UFC fight cards he watched didn’t help either.
“I’m a bit bored of the game,” McGregor said. “I’m here watching the fight. I watched the last show — the [Tyron Woodley-Gilbert Burns] show — I watched the show tonight. I’m just not excited about the game, Ariel. I don’t know if it’s no crowd. I don’t know what it is. There’s just no buzz for me.”
On top of that, McGregor seems to be miffed over how the UFC was handling its top draw. McGregor had big plans for 2020 that were derailed by the COVID-19 pandemic, but it also seems like his adjusted plans in the wake of the virus were derailed by people in the UFC offices.
“I had my goals, my plans, the season. I had everything laid out,” McGregor said. “Obviously the world has gone bleeding bonkers at the minute. There’s f— 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—. I’m over it.”
So McGregor is walking away from the sport for the foreseeable future.
“We’ll see what the future holds,” McGregor said. “But for right now, for the immediate future, 2020, all the best to it.”
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McGregor Was Momentarily Interested in Middleweight Fight
McGregor confirmed he had some serious interest in facing 45-year-old UFC middleweight Anderson Silva next, but that the longer he thought about the potential fight the less it made sense to him.
“And when the Anderson one came along, I was like, yeah, s—, that’s a mad fight,” McGregor said. “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?'”
McGregor didn’t feel like people would have rewarded him for beating Silva.
“And you know, you’re actually right. It wouldn’t be rewarded. I would go in there and put him away, Ariel, and then what would happen? They’d say he’s old and he’s over the hill and he’s past his prime and all.”
In the end, the most popular fighter in UFC history says he’s walking away from the sport.
“I don’t know. It’s just crazy,” McGregor said. “I was cutting to 155, and then because I asked for 155, they wanted to show power and stomp all over me… I’m just over it, man.”
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