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What’s Next for McGregor: The Ring, Octagon, or Retirement?

Don Aguero

by Don Aguero in Mixed Martial Arts News

Updated Jan 17, 2018 · 9:38 AM PST

Photo Credit: Andrius Petrucenia (flickr) CC License

Yes, Conor McGregor lost to Floyd Mayweather, and no, it wasn’t all that close. But let’s be honest, he did a lot better than expected.

If you signed-up at one of our most trusted betting sites, hopefully you took the over on rounds (9.5), because McGregor lasted into the tenth against arguably the greatest fighter of his generation and landed some impressive shots along the way, allowing the MMA star to leave T-Mobile Arena with his head held high.

It was Mayweather’s plan all along to drag the rookie into deep water and pick him apart, but there were a few moments in the earlier rounds where it didn’t look so easy. McGregor managed to land more punches than Manny Pacquiao (111 to 81), with a better percentage as well (26% to 19%).

Now, with his reputation intact and his bank account many — many — millions of dollars richer, the second-biggest name in combat sports is plotting his next move. Does he stay in boxing, where the money is better, or return to MMA, where he reigns supreme? Or, now that he has enough money to retire, does he hang up the gloves (four-ounce or otherwise) and live the rest of his life free from punches to the face, as most sane people would?





If McGregor returns to the UFC, then this is the fight that makes the most sense for him and the promotion. With the lightweight division bursting with talent, this isn’t the “best” matchup in the truest sense of the word. But it’s by far the most profitable.

Diaz vs McGregor 2 was the biggest event in UFC history (1.65 million buys) and it wasn’t even a title fight. Diaz vs McGregor 3, with the record tied 1-1 and a title on the line, would shatter those numbers.


The UFC is where McGregor shines, but boxing is where the big money is. The drama surrounding the fallout between Conor McGregor and sparring partner Paulie Malignaggi in the lead-up to MayMac is a recipe for PPV success.

McGregor was outclassed by Mayweather, but Malignaggi is a few notches below “Money May,” and “Notorious” managed to land a knock down against Malignaggi in a sparring session. This is a fight he could actually win.


It’s sad to say, but this is a real possibility. McGregor can either stay in boxing and seek big-money exhibition-style fights, or he can return to the UFC where he’ll make a fraction of that coin. Now that he’s at least $30 million richer (probably closer to $100 million), there’s no financial need for “Notorious” to continue in either venue. Plus, as one of the most marketable names in sports, he can start making massive dollars from other endorsements and other business ventures like (what else?) whiskey.


After surpassing Rocky Marciano’s 49-0 record, Mayweather announced that he will never fight again — again.

The last two times he’s announced his retirement, no one really believed that the five-weight champion was hanging up his gloves for good. Now that he’s claimed the elusive 50-0 and banked another career payday, there really isn’t any reason for the pay-per-view king to return.

Well, maybe there’s one reason. True to his namesake, “Money” Mayweather isn’t one to turn anything down if the money is right. McGregor fans believe that the fight was stopped too early and the shaky first few rounds left viewers wondering, “what if …”

A rematch could — once again — break PPV records and net Mayweather over nine figures. 


Tony Ferguson and Kevin Lee will face off at UFC 216 for the interim lightweight title. Dana White has yet to guarantee the winner a shot at McGregor, despite the pleas from both fighters.

Is this fight in the cards? McGregor is the one holding all the aces. If he doesn’t want to defend his title — and neither Ferguson nor Lee is a huge draw — then he certainly doesn’t have to.

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