Former two-division UFC champion Conor McGregor admits his 2020 retirement announcement was partly out of frustration.
McGregor returned to the Octagon in January, 2020, when he picked up a blistering, 40-second TKO victory over Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone. In the lead-up to that fight, McGregor teased a busy 2020, making no secret of his desire to fight multiple times before the year ended.
Unfortunately, that’s not the way things unfolded—partly due to the pandemic, partly due to a lack of interesting opponents.
“There was a lot of talks about me coming back, I was so eager to come back. I wanted to come back,” McGregor told ESPN recently (via MMA Mania). “The Tuesday after the fight against Cerrone I had that meeting with Lorenzo and Dana and the conversation was ‘What do we do now, what’s next? What was the next bout?’ We couldn’t, had not got the answer at that dinner. And it just didn’t come to fruition. I was eager, I was trying to get things moving, and it just didn’t happen with all the circumstances surrounding it, the year and what went down. It just went the way it went and it is what it is.
“I feel now, I have transformed myself into a lightweight frame again,” McGregor added. “I did it healthily and am full of energy and vitality and I’m ready to showcase myself at 155 pounds. At my absolute best and I’m very excited about that. Doing that opens up a lot of options for me. There are many lightweight contenders, and many options. I’ve heard Nate is coming back down to 155 which is exciting. There’s boxing escapades, and things. I don’t think what happened last year will happen this year.”
When McGregor was unable to find a fight in 2020, he ended up retiring for a brief period. Thankfully for his legions of fans, he wound up ending his retirement, and is slated to fight Dustin Poirier at UFC 257 this Saturday.
In hindsight, McGregor admits his retirement had a lot to do with the feeling that he had been “shelved.”
“It was out of frustration,” McGregor said. “When you’re trying to get things moving and it’s just not happening … you’re getting shelved, it felt like I was shelved almost. I felt like if I’d been run out a couple more times that year, not only would my skillset and sharpness be in tune more, we’re also talking 800 million in revenue for the company.
“It was certainly out of frustration, but it is what it is, the past is the past. I felt like I got what I needed to get off my chest, and I felt like it’s been reciprocated well and the other side has come back as well,” McGregor added. “So I’m in a great spot and I’m excited to come back, and that’s what we’re focusing on: the positive side of it and the future.”
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