Ever since Dana White claimed Conor McGregor would have a ‘left field’ announcement in the wake of his UFC 205 title fight with Eddie Alvarez, there has been plenty of speculation over what that news might be. I examine what it might mean if said announcement was the Irishman’s retirement.
At just 28 years of age, McGregor would be one of the youngest stars ever to retire by choice, but that doesn’t mean his legacy would be any lesser. Almost three and a half years to the day since his UFC debut in April 2013, ‘The Notorious’ has racked up nine fights, a featherweight title and holds (estimated) three out of the top five PPV buyrates in UFC history.
So, why retire now?
McGregor has always said his goal was to get in, make money and then get out. He has teased early retirement before, even if it was reported as a negotiating strategy. Should he defeat Alvarez at UFC 205, there really wouldn’t be a more perfect time for ‘The Notorious’ to retire.
Now we have the reason for McGregor to retire, what would happen to the UFC should it happen?
Firstly, I don’t see the UFC being in trouble or dramatically losing fans. The retirement really balances on the Irishman defeating Alvarez to become the first fighter in UFC history to hold two titles in different weight classes consecutively. Should this happen, McGregor’s retirement would leave two weight-classes champion-less.
In turn, this would make for some exciting fights in both the featherweight and lightweight divisions to determine the title holders. At the lighter weight, Jose Aldo could have a chance to regain the belt he once held for over three years, while younger, hungry fighters like Max Holloway would see it as a huge opportunity to climb the division.
Up in the lightweight division, we would likely see Alvarez look to regain the title that he hypothetically lost to McGregor. However, the division is full of absolute monsters who would all see a vacant title as an opportunity to follow in McGregor’s footsteps.
Meanwhile, there have been rumours of McGregor’s desires to start-up his own MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) promotion, which could well be a possibility should he retire. Whether you would see the Irishman fight on his own promotion or not is another story.
So, should the unthinkable happen, I don’t see McGregor nor the UFC being in trouble. The UFC would have a chance to push other fighters, as well as still having star power in the returning Ronda Rousey, while McGregor himself would have time to relax, possibly start a family and maybe kick-off his own MMA promotion.
In all likelihood, Conor McGregor will take a year out from the sport after the New York bout at UFC 205, then return to the promotion probably a bigger star than before and continue to shatter records and entertain fans. All the same, it will be interesting to see what this announcement could be!
Bradley Bates, Pundit Arena
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