01 Jan Conor McGregor explains latest retirement talk: ‘There’s nothing there for me’
Conor McGregor is bored.
Following his retirement announcement on Saturday evening shortly after the conclusion of the UFC 250 main event — the third time in the past four years that McGregor has made such an announcement — the former two-division world champion spoke to ESPN to explain why he’s once again declaring himself to be done with MMA competition.
“The game just does not excite me, and that’s that,” McGregor said. “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.
“They should have just kept the ball rolling. 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.”
Gaethje is one of several fighters who has campaigned for a fight with McGregor in recent months and it appeared that he could be lined up to face “The Notorious” should he defeat Nurmagomedov in a still-to-be-booked matchup and unify the interim and undisputed UFC lightweight titles. This potential sequence of events isn’t to McGregor’s liking, and he feels that they should have made a fight with him and Gaethje happen without having to wait for Nurmagomedov.
McGregor, 31, described himself as “bored of the game” having watched the UFC’s return to action over the past couple of months and that he personally feels there is “no buzz.” The coronavirus pandemic turned the entertainment and sporting world on its head, forcing the UFC to completely overhaul its schedule and hold events without an audience. That means there’s no timetable for when McGregor can compete again nor when he’ll be able to use his unmatched drawing power to produce a lucrative gate for the UFC, an uncertainty that has troubled both the fighter and UFC President Dana White.
“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.”
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Having headlined some of the most successful pay-per-views in UFC history and a massive crossover boxing event opposite Floyd Mayweather, it takes a lot to turn McGregor’s head these days and one matchup that had him intrigued was a superfight with middleweight legend Anderson Silva.
However, that fight never made it beyond the speculative stage, much to McGregor’s frustration.
“There’s nothing there for me,” McGregor said. “I’m trying to get excited. I’m trying my best. And when the Anderson one came along, I was like, yeah, s—, 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. I would go in there and put him away, 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.”
Despite McGregor’s general restlessness, the tone of his announcement was a celebratory one in which he offered a broad “thank you” and shared a picture of himself with his mother. Whether McGregor fights again or not, he’s going out on a positive note and on Sunday morning he shared a picture of a retirement cake on social media.
“My mother is out there picking out a beautiful home, an absolute beautiful home, her dream home,” McGregor said. “It would likely be her final home, my family’s final home for them, a retirement home. I’m very, very proud to do this, and that’s it.
“We’ll see what the future holds. But for right now, for the immediate future, 2020, all the best to it.”