Conor McGregor drops heavy hint at MMA retirement U-turn

Monday 15 April 2019 14:42, UK

Conor McGregor weighs in ahead of UFC 229 in Las Vegas
Image: Conor McGregor has hinted he could make a return to the Octagon

Conor McGregor has hinted that his retirement from mixed martial arts may be over just a week after the Irishman announced he was quitting the sport.

Two weeks ago, the twice Ultimate Fighting Championship title-holder sent shock waves through the sporting world by saying he was retiring on Twitter.

The announcement drew plenty of scepticism, given it came only hours after McGregor told an American TV chat show that he was in negotiations for a fight in July, and a previous retirement announcement by McGregor in 2016 only lasted a few days.

Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov
Image: McGregor and Nurmagomedov have clashed in the ring and on social media

The hint of a possible return came following a string of abusive social posts between McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov, who beat him in their controversial UFC lightweight title fight in October.

McGregor has made no secret of his desire for a rematch and in a statement on Twitter, said: " ... see you in the Octagon".

McGregor also tweeted - then deleted - a number of derogatory posts about Nurmagomedov's wife with the Russian returning fire on Twitter.

UFC President Dana White said in a statement that the online exchanges had become "unacceptable" and that he was reaching out to both camps to defuse the tension.

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Neither McGregor nor Nurmagomedov have had another fight since, with both serving suspensions for an ugly brawl that erupted after their match in Las Vegas.

The Irishman was suspended from UFC for six months and fined $50,000 for his part in a brawl after his loss to Khabib.

McGregor has also fuelled speculation that he might be ready to take on boxer Paulie Malignaggi in a bare knuckle fight.

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Image: Paulie Malignaggi wants to settle his feud with Conor McGregor

The Dubliner posted 21 photos from his sparring sessions with Malignaggi, who has signed up to compete in the Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship and challenged "coward" McGregor to face him in the format.

Boasting massive global recognition, McGregor wields considerable negotiating power over the UFC and pundits have speculated his retirement announcement was merely a ploy in a long battle to secure an ownership stake in the popular cage-fighting series.

"He's stuck on this thing where he wants a piece of the ownership and if you look at basketball, Michael Jordan didn't own a piece of the league," White told 8 News Now, a Las Vegas broadcaster, this week.

"I think there's other ways that we can make him happy."