McGregor will fight Dustin Poirier at the UFC 257 in January
Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) superstar Conor McGregor will once again be back in the octagon after retiring for the third time in four years on June 7, 2020.
It seems to be becoming common for the former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) featherweight and lightweight champion to retire from the sport and come back less than a year later each time.
When the Irishman retired for the first time in April 2016, it only took three months before fans saw him back in action again. At that time, there was nothing special about McGregor coming out of retirement, especially for a rematch against another famous UFC fighter, Nate Diaz.
What makes McGregor’s case weird is that he retired again on March 25, 2019, but for just nine days. We’ll probably never know if that was planned, or if McGregor really wanted to retire at the moment, but an amazing fight opportunity came to him afterwards and he simply couldn’t turn it down. However, that third retirement announcement last June, once again followed by a comeback in the same year, makes it harder than ever to believe his announcements.
Having a superstar coming out of retirement for a big fight against another superstar always gets fans’ attention and often headlines the news until fight night. That’s especially true when you’re of McGregor’s caliber.
It therefore helps to increase UFC profits, including pay-per-view numbers, which are expected to be higher because of the excitement behind the athlete’s return. There’s reason, then, to wonder if McGregor has used retirement as a financial strategy in order to get more money from his latest fights.
McGregor was only 28 when he first retired in 2016, and his rematch against Diaz was greatly awaited by fans. Those elements make it hard to believe he really wanted to stop the competition at that time.
However, continuously retiring in order to come back won’t have the same effect every time. It will be interesting to see if he does it again after his fight against Dustin Poirier on Jan. 23, 2021.
Graphic by Rose-Marie Dion