In the wake of the record-breaking mega fight between UFC champion Conor McGregor and undefeated boxer Floyd Mayweather, the question on many people’s minds is whether McGregor will fight in the UFC again.
Why He Won’t
The first reason Conor McGregor may not set foot in the octagon again is simple. Or rather, the 75 million reasons. McGregor pocketed at least 75 million dollars for the Mayweather fight, according to a Forbes estimate. That’s on top of a reported 34 million dollars from his UFC career, 27 million in fight earnings and 7 millions in endorsements. By all accounts, McGregor’s net worth is now north of nine figures.
With that kind of money in the bank, the prospect of getting hammerfists from the top from Khabib Nurmagomedov doesn’t necessarily sound very attractive. McGregor is a smart guy, and there’s no way he’s not aware of the toll that a long career of taking damage takes on fighters. Could he walk away from fighting entirely, focus on promoting other fighters and make millions without putting his long term health on the line? If he wants to, sure. It’s all a question of how much McGregor still has the desire to compete and test himself.
But even if McGregor wants to fight on, that doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll be back in the UFC. There are likely any number of boxers who would be happy to stand against him in the squared circle. At this point, McGregor is a crossover combat sports star who is marketable to MMA fans, boxing fans, and the general public. If the right boxing match can be made, it’s possible that revenues for that match could far outstrip what he could make in the UFC.
If McGregor wants to chase the most dollars at any cost, boxing might be his best bet, even if it means getting lit up even worse than the Floyd Mayweather fight. From a promotional standpoint, there’s a lot of bad blood between McGregor and his former sparring partner Paul Malignaggi, which could lead to interest in a match between the two of them.
Plenty of boxers would say yes to a multi-million dollar payday against what amounts to an amateur boxer with an 0-1 record. So maybe McGregor’s future is in the boxing ring, and his UFC days are over.
Why He Will
There’s just one problem with that train of thought, though: The Mayweather fight was unique. First of all, no one in the boxing world has Mayweather’s name or record or following. There’s zero chance of McGregor making near what he made in the Mayweather fight. But more importantly, Mayweather was about the safest possible opponent for McGregor. Any other payday he goes for in the boxing ring carries considerably more risk.
Floyd Mayweather was 40 years old and two years into retirement when McGregor fought him. Mayweather had never been known as a guy with great power, and he was visibly slower in the McGregor fight. If McGregor wants to fight another top name in boxing like Canelo Alvarez or Gennady Golovkin, he’d be fighting a boxer in his prime, and a boxer with punching power that Mayweather didn’t come close to possessing.
McGregor got a taste of boxing in the Mayweather fight, and that taste had to have been pretty bitter by the 10th round when he was practically out on his feet. Is 20 million more dollars worth getting his head punched off by Canelo?
Another boxing match doesn’t make sense for Conor McGregor. He’s already got 100+ million in the bank, so he doesn’t need to risk his health fighting another boxer who’d outclass him. The question boils down to: Does McGregor still have the will and desire to compete at the highest level? If so, he’ll be back in the UFC. If not, he’ll be chilling on a tropical island somewhere or promoting other fighters.
At this point, the smart money says McGregor still wants to fight. He loves the spotlight leading up to the fight, the spectacle and soundbites culminating in standing across the ring (or octagon) from a another elite fighter. And would he really want to go out on a loss to Floyd Mayweather?
It’s possible that at some point in the near-ish future, McGregor will hang up the gloves. But not yet. The Nick Diaz trilogy is a license to print money for the UFC, and McGregor can come to the bargaining table knowing he can walk away from everything if he doesn’t get the terms he wants.
Expect Conor McGregor to fight in the UFC again – without a doubt. And the entire MMA world (plus some new fans) will be watching when he does.