McGregor's Talk Of A Boxing Comeback Is Proof He's Running Out Of UFC Options

'The Notorious' returns to the Octagon against Donald Cerrone this weekend
15:35, 14 Jan 2020

Conor McGregor is currently preparing for his comeback bout at UFC 246, which takes place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada this weekend, where he fights Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone, a man he said he’d beat even if he had the flu.

Ahead of the MMA battle, which will be McGregor’s first professional return to the Octagon since his defeat to Khabib Nurgomedov in October 2018, ‘the Notorious’ sat down with ESPN’s Ariel Helwani in Sin City for a revealing interview disclosing the fighter’s intentions for the future. 

McGregor discussed his UFC homecoming, facing Cerrone, Khabib Part II, and his controversies away from the grand arena. The Irishman has also suggested he wouldn’t be averse to fighting Floyd Mayweather again in a rematch of their blockbuster 2017 bout, plus a sly mention of a potential prize-fight against another boxing goliath.

"I'd say it's a new Conor," he told Helwani, “I just feel reinvigorated, you know? Excited. That's it."

 "The fans are very excited," he said. "The people are very excited to see this bout, see me compete. I'm very excited to be back and to be gifting this to the people.

“The support of the people means a lot to me. I do this to entertain the people. This is for my fans and the people who believe in me.

“I’m mature, I’ve come full circle.”

A win in Vegas will seem to line up a rematch with Nurgomedov. 

McGregor is the heavy favourite for victory (at around 1/3) over Cerrone. However, an unprecedented loss to the 36-year-old American will ultimately prove devastating, a woeful conclusion to the past sorry several years that has attracted considerable controversy away from the Octagon with failing to prove his credentials inside it. 

Conor McGregor will in theory, unmercifully, be done. No more second chances. This is the crossroads.

It, therefore, comes as no surprise that in engaging with Helwani, McGregor subtly inserted hints of potential forays back into the world of boxing. A cynic could propose that he’s cashing in on the currency of his eccentric yet magnetic personality that has projected him as one of the most watchable sports stars of the past decade. 

When asked by Helwani whether he is interested in another boxing match, McGregor answered emphatically: “Most certainly. I’d like to rematch Floyd [Mayweather]. I think we should. He’s flirting with it. He can go and pick someone else but it’s not going to be the same.

“I done [sic] phenomenal in that bout. I know I’d beat Floyd if we rematched...and when we rematch.”

Mayweather and McGregor last faced off two and a half years ago - in the same arena McGregor will take centre stage against Cerrone. A 10th round TKO saw Mayweather extend his boxing record to 50 and 0. Half a century straight victories, without a single defeat to blemish his card, and a historic $700m in revenue split between the two: the pro and the part-time pugilist.

McGregor’s regurgitation of bringing brand Money Mayweather into his universe chimed with his later devilish proposition of Mayweather’s one-time rival, Manny Pacquiao. 

“There has been talks about the Manny fight as well. There was an offer made on that.

“Just not yet. It’s very much [a possibility].”

In that corner of the Nevada desert in the wild west of the United States, it looks to be last-chance saloon with the appropriately monikered ‘Cowboy’, the duel that could dynamite - for better or worse - McGregor’s career. It looks as if the one-time duo-weight UFC champion is being sensible enough to make plans for either outcome.

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