Conor McGregor scoffs at retirement: ‘It’s to the motherf****** grave’

Conor McGregor is as big, if not bigger, presence in pop culture as he is in the world of MMA. Look through his media clippings online, and you’re just as likely to see a picture of him on the red carpet as in the octagon.

That’s the net result of a lot of hard work, McGregor told TNT Sports. But he said people shouldn’t think that because he does so many things outside fighting that he is transitioning out of it.

Just the opposite.

“Look at Mike Tyson now, he’s fighting Jake Paul,” McGregor said. “He fought Roy Jones also. So there you go, that’s an older guy. When he was fighting Roy Jones Jr., something that really stuck out to me was [that Mike Tyson] was asked — Roy Jones, also an aged guy, retired for so long — ‘Why?’ Recalibrate your competition.

“There’s a reason that in jiu-jitsu tournaments there’s like the veteran division and all this. So I don’t really feel like I could ever call it a day to it until I’m laid out flat, and that’s it. In a box and going down into the ground – that’s when I’ll call it a day. So, something that really struck me with Mike Tyson was he was asked in an interview around the Roy Jones Jr. fight, what do you think Cus D’Amato, who was his mentor and coach, what do you think Cus D’Amato would say to you after all these years. ‘Why come back now?’ And what Tyson said really struck me. He said, what Cus would say to me is, ‘What took you so long?’

“And that really hit me. It’s almost like people get weighted down with the pressure of life, uncertainty, you see a lot of people in their post-fight, even most recent with Dustin [Poirier] and [Alexander] Volkanovski, many fighters … even Georges St-Pierre when he originally retired. It’s like a weight, something atop them, and they allow it to just take them right out of the game.”

From the perspective of many outsiders, McGregor’s behavior outside the cage has done nothing to dispel the notion that fighting is no longer his priority and may never be. Persistent troubles with law enforcement and a series of thriving business adventures have raised logical questions about whether he will ever get back to the form that allowed him to capture titles in two separate divisions and become the UFC’s biggest star.

A lot of people think they know the answer to what’s next for “The Notorious.” He assures them they don’t.

“I’m aware that [pressure of life] is present, that feeling and that thing, whatever it is,” he continued. “But I’m also aware that rest, recuperation, recalibration — I’m not going to be 40-odd and looking at the 19-year-old wonder kid from f****** wherever he’s from, even though they might be calling me out. Look at all my potential opponents I have. I have gangs of opponents, literally, that I have history with — trilogies, secondary fights, fresh fights even.

“These are all similar age to me. So if these people are similar age to me, and I have an audience’s interest, which I do, who’s to say these fights won’t take place whenever they’ll take place? Do you get me? It’s to the grave, my man. It’s to the motherf****** grave.”

In the near future, it’s to the rest of 2024 and the confirmation of a UFC booking he said is closer than many might think. Whether that’s at UFC 303 as has been reported, or even a pair of dates before year’s end, McGregor said fans will see him compete sooner than later.

“A few fights left on my contract,” he said. “Hopefully this year, we can do this. It’s still first quarter of 2024, so there’s a lot of time left. I’m confident in that, and the talks are ongoing. After that, I would wish to be a part of the UFC, so let’s see how it goes.”

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