Conor McGregor retirement: Is this really the end?

Monday 15 April 2019 14:44, UK

LAS VEGAS, NV - AUGUST 12:  UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregor sits to do promotional spots during an open workout at his gym on August 12, 2016 in

A tweet? Just a "quick announcement", in Conor McGregor’s words?

The second premature 'retirement' of his career might been more appropriate if delivered by a megaphone on the Las Vegas Boulevard or via a banner from an aeroplane, given McGregor's love of the extravagant.

But one tweet?

There is almost certainly more to this story than initially meets the eye, hence the scepticism that McGregor's overnight tweet was met by.

LAS VEGAS, NV - AUGUST 18:  UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregor arrives at an open workout for UFC 202 at Rocks Lounge at the Red Rock Casino on Augu

We've been here once before with him. In 2016 he tweeted an even briefer claim that he had "decided to retire young". It smashed the record for the most retweeted post from an athlete, previously held by NBA legend Kobe Bryant announcing his own retirement (which lasted).

McGregor's lasted 48 hours, and resulted in a rematch with Nate Diaz which he won.

Fast forwards three years and there are eerie similarities.

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Conor McGregor beat Nate Diaz in their rematch at UFC 202
Image: Conor McGregor beat Nate Diaz in their rematch at UFC 202

His old rival Diaz, who won their first fight, hasn't been seen in the UFC since the rematch in August 2016. This week he posted a clip of himself in preparation for a fight with accompanying words directed at McGregor, Khabib Nurmagomedov and Dustin Poirier.

McGregor has been on the lookout for a comeback fight over the past few weeks. He has lost two in a row - to Floyd Mayweather inside the boxing ring then to Nurmagomedov on his UFC return. Both were ambitious efforts and there is no shame in losing either, but back-to-back losses don't look good on paper.

A mooted fight against Donald 'Cowboy' Cerrone reportedly fell through, according to footage of McGregor telling fans on social media, because the UFC didn't want him to be the main event. There is quite obviously some wrangling going on behind-the-scenes to get MMA's biggest name back into competition despite losing the world titles that were once his. His claim that he is retired is likely a bargaining chip to make his return even more lucrative.

Just last weekend he sent two tweets indicating that he is hunting for an opponent.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. throws a punch at Conor McGregor during their super welterweight boxing match on August 26, 2017.
Image: McGregor lost his boxing debut to Mayweather

His latest retirement claim is plausible mainly because of the riches earned in his Mayweather fight, then his Nurmagomedov fight which set financial records for the UFC. Put simply, he doesn't need to fight for a living particularly with growing business interests outside of sport. He has relentlessly plugged his Irish whiskey brand lately.

But McGregor is just 30 years old.

He has endured skirmishes with the law in the past year, most recently being charged with robbery and criminal mischief when he allegedly smashed a fan's phone. Entering into the disciplined lifestyle of preparing for competition might be in his best interest.

So will McGregor's second 'retirement' last? Don't bet against him completing a trilogy against Diaz later this year.