Former UFC two division champion, Conor McGregor, announced his retirement on Twitter early this morning. McGregor, 30, in a pre-taped sit down on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon’ just hours before said that he and the UCF were in talks for a return this July.
This is not the first time “The Notorious” has called it quits. In April 2016, he tweeted he had “decided to retire young.” That retirement announcement was largely due to a disagreement with the UFC after he was pulled from UFC 200. McGregor failed to hold up his end of the promotional agreement, causing the company to remove him from the event.
McGregor remains the face of the sport and can be credited for the rapid growth in popularity the UFC has seen since his arrival.
McGregor leaves with a record of 21-4, but his dominance and ability to self-promote is what most fans will remember when thinking of the charismatic Irishman. McGregor, never one to shy away from the spotlight, has always put on a show in and outside of the octagon. With his larger than life personality and trash-talking ability, he became the UFC’s best-selling fighter seemingly overnight.
His illustrious career saw wins over UFC superstars Chad Mendes, Jose Aldo, Nate Diaz and Eddie Alvarez, winning both the featherweight and lightweight titles. McGregor held both titles consecutively before relinquishing them to text the boxing waters. During McGregor’s rise, he periodically hurled insults towards Floyd Mayweather Jr.,pushing for a boxing match with the undefeated great. In March of 2017, Mayweather came out of retirement to fight McGregor. Two months later, the sides agreed to terms for a bout. Though McGregor eventually lost to Mayweather, he took the best pound for pound boxer in generations into the 10th round. McGregor earned respect and a reported $100 million dollar pay day for the match.
McGregor returned to the UFC in October 2018, but was submitted in the 4th round by undefeated lightweight Khabib Nurmagomedov.
The night ended in controversy after Nurmagomedov leaped out of the octagon and into the crowd, attacking McGregor’s team. McGregor himself was sucker punched as he stood in the octagon awaiting the final results. Both fighters were suspended and fined for their parts in the brawl.
McGregor’s motivation to continue fighting has been questioned since his large pay day following the Mayweather fight and launching his own brand of whiskey, Proper No. 12, which retails at $25. McGregor also boasts a number of sponsorship deals including Burger King, Beats by Dre, Monster Energy Drink, David August, Anheuser Busch, HiSmile and Betsafe.
UFC President Dana White confirmed the news in a message to ESPN, “He has the money to retire and his whiskey is killin in,” said White. “It totally makes sense and if I was him I would retire too.”
According to Forbes, McGregor is the fourth highest paid athlete in the world.