Yesterday evening Conor McGregor announced his “retirement” from the sport of mixed martial arts, and this morning he has the world talking about it. Word spreads quickly in the modern-age of social media and that’s punctuated whenever global stars make announcements that get the masses gripped. With the power people have at their fingertips, knowing that everything they put out will get taken in, they create a push and pull mentality with their committed audience. They can push products like their own brand of whiskey, or they can pull people in with an engaging statement about their alleged retirement. Tomorrow it could be someone else, but today it’s Conor McGregor. Let’s take a look at what’s next for the UFC double-champ.
In classic McGregor fashion, the man took to twitter last night to break the news of his own retirement from the sport in which he has become synonymous with:
From that moment rumors circulated about what could be next for the former UFC Featherweight and Lightweight champion. ESPN MMA reporter Brett Okamoto appeared on SportsCenter to talk about his interaction with UFC President Dana White. He reported that White didn’t see the need for the Irish star to continue with fighting following the money he’s made and the ongoing success of his whiskey brand. Okamoto went on to add that Dana White was treating this as a legitimate retirement, although Okamoto remained coy with his own beliefs about the legitimacy of McGregor’s retirement announcement.
It’s worth noting that Okamoto’s reservations are well supported, following McGregor’s first “retirement” in April of 2016:
One European bookmaker has taken it upon themselves to offer lines on what they think is next for the ‘Notorious’ one.
The most notable props - Conor McGregor:
To Fight in the UFC before end of 2022 @-250
To appear in the ring at WrestleMania 35 @+100
To fight another Professional Boxing Fight before end of 2022 @+187
Rather interestingly, every time McGregor angles at anything which could involve him moving outside of the combat sports circle, waves are created with talks of him featuring in the WWE. There’s definitely the ever present possibility that he could transition into a role in sports-entertainment and a WrestleMania appearance would not be out of the question, especially give the history of recent crossover stars such as Brock Lesner and Ronda Rousey.
Putting aside a possible one-off appearance on wrestling’s biggest stage, the odds seems to suggest he’ll be making his return to fighting before the end of 2022. The likelihood of anther boxing bout is an option for him, although that would most probably have to involve cross-promotion with the UFC (due to contractual obligations), which might not be in their plans unless him and Floyd Mayweather were to square off for a second time.
The main takeaway of many is that this is a leverage ploy to further increase the buzz around the UFC superstar’s inevitable return to the cage. McGregor has been pushing for the UFC to give him a share in the company since his capture of the UFC Lightweight belt in November of 2016. During this time, any negotiations have been kept well under wraps, but this might be his way of applying more wood to the fire, if the UFC want him to fight again in the near future.
Only time will tell if the UFC poster boy will return to the fray, but with the odds currently sitting @-250 for him to make a UFC return in the next three years and nine months, it certainly seems like this “retirement” is not likely to be a permanent one.