STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Former two-weight UFC champion Conor McGregor has announced on Twitter that he is retiring from the sport for the third time, citing a lack of exciting options as the reason behind his decision to quit.
“Hey guys I’ve decided to retire from fighting. Thank you all for the amazing memories! What a ride it’s been!” the 31-year-old Irishman said, adding a picture of him and his mother and promising to buy her a dream home.
“The game just does not excite me, and that’s that,” McGregor told ESPN on Sunday.
“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.”
McGregor, who knocked out Donald Cerrone in 40 seconds on his return to the octagon back in January, had hoped to fight twice more in 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic and a lack of interesting opponents seems to have put paid to that.
McGregor had been linked by the media to a number of fights, including a match-up against Brazilian great Anderson Silva, but the Irishman hinted that the UFC was not prepared to meet his price for such a bout.
“When the Anderson one came along, I was like, yeah, that’s a mad fight. And then everyone said he’s old and over the hill,” McGregor explained.
“I was like, what? Fighting a former light heavyweight and the middleweight GOAT (greatest of all time), and the actual GOAT in my eyes - that’s not a rewardable fight?”
UFC president Dana White, who has faced demands from other fighters including light-heavyweight icon Jon Jones and welterweight crowd-pleaser Jorge Masvidal to be paid more money for their fights, appeared to take McGregor’s retirement seriously.
“Nobody is pressuring anybody to fight. And if Conor McGregor feels he wants to retire, you know my feelings about retirement - you should absolutely do it,” he told a media conference following Saturday’s UFC 250 event in Las Vegas.
The former UFC featherweight and lightweight champion first quit the sport in April 2016. In March 2019, he again announced he was hanging up his gloves, but on both occasions the retirements were short-lived.
Once again, McGregor is leaving the door open for a return in the future.
“We’ll see what the future holds. But for right now, for the immediate future, 2020, all the best to it.”
Reporting by Philip O'Connor; Editing by Robert Birsel and Toby Davis