UFC superstar Conor McGregor has retired. To be more specific, the two-division world champ retired for the third time in four years.
“The game just does not excite me, and that’s that,” McGregor told 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.”
What this means to the big picture of combat sports is anyone’s guess. It may mean that the “Notorious One” is interested in revisiting the one fight outlet that has made him the most one-bout money– boxing.
Former opponent Floyd Mayweather sure was eager to seize upon McGregor’s retirement from the UFC.
“If I’m not mistaken, didn’t you tell Mike Tyson you could beat me if we fought a second time?” Mayweather said via social media. “Now you’re quitting! I thought you wanted to beat the best? Well, if you decide to come back, I will be waiting to punish you again.”
In the past, McGregor has expressed interest in a rematch with Mayweather. He’s even talked himself into believing that he was doing well in their bout and on the path to victory. He posted this on social media just last month:
“It was a great contest, just watched it back! Early rounds all mine, and even later rounds when legs where gone, I still outlanded him. I received my credit from many notable names in the boxing world, which I was thankful for. None more so than from Mike [Tyson]. Excited for part 2.”
Many boxing experts expressed the opinion that Mayweather basically carried McGregor for the entirety of the fight until finally stepping on the gas to take him out in the tenth round. It’s also been noted that Mayweather didn’t appear to be in the greatest of condition that night and was coming off a two-year layoff.
So, in essence, a dead-legged, lackadaisical Mayweather toyed with McGregor before putting him away. It was hardly a fight worth revisiting for either combatant. Except both made huge money and, when there’s nine figures on the table, you’re going to at least try to find a reason for a rematch.
Mayweather and McGrgeor are big enough personalities to sell a part two to a fairly weak part one. Even if the rematch brought in half as much, it would still be a major windfall for both. It’s up to Mayweather, mostly, if he wants to go there again.
McGregor does have other options besides Mayweather, however.
A bout with Manny Pacquiao had been discussed before and could be picked up again. The Pacquiao name is second only to Mayweather in drawing power. There’s definitely big money to be had in a Conor-Manny clash.
The idea of a bout with Saul “Canelo” Alvarez has also been tossed around. Alvarez is the current cash cow/biggest star in boxing and could make for one-half of a huge event. McGregor would have to put on a few pounds to meet the 160-168 lb. Alvarez, but the size disparity is not too great.
McGregor could also explore safer, but less lucrative boxing options. Paulie Malignaggi, social media antagonist and one-time sparring partner, could be wrangled out of retirement and into a bout. Retired former champ Oscar De la Hoya has been a rumored possibility. And who would turn a blind eye to McGregor versus someone like Errol Spence, Terence Crawford, or Jermell Charlo?
There’s a world of possibilities for a UFC-retired McGregor. There’s also the idea that he could fight in his own MMA promotions.
The fight world will just have to wait and see what’s next for the Notorious One.