If the latest Twitter activity from Conor McGregor is to be believed, the former UFC featherweight and lightweight champion might have just ended his apparent retirement after little more than a week.
As documented by Yahoo Sports, McGregor followed up a series of heated tweets toward UFC Lightweight Champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and his wife with a tweet that didn’t just suggest a desire to “move forward,” but also seemed to tease a return to active UFC competition.
“I want to move forward, with my fans of all faiths and all backgrounds. All faiths challenge us to be our best selves. It is one world and one for all. [heart emoji] Now see you in the Octagon.”
On March 25, McGregor announced via Twitter that he would be retiring from mixed martial arts, marking the second time since the spring of 2016 that he used the social media platform to tell his fans that he would be leaving the world of MMA at a relatively young age. However, The Inquisitr reported last week that many fans didn’t seem to take the 30-year-old Irishman’s second announcement seriously, speculating that he might have simply teased retirement as a way to negotiate for a more attractive payday for his next fight.
As further pointed out by Yahoo Sports, UFC President Dana White also expressed skepticism regarding Conor McGregor’s surprise retirement announcement, saying in a recent interview that there could be “some things” that “The Notorious One” wants, including a possible ownership stake in UFC.
“Is Conor very valuable to the sport and to the brand, the UFC? Of course he is,” White told Las Vegas’ KLAS-TV, as quoted by Yahoo Sports. “That’s a tough one, but I think there’s other ways that we can make him happy.”
— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) April 4, 2019
Regardless of whether or not McGregor was using his retirement announcement as a tool to gain leverage in negotiations, some of the other comments he made in his apparent “unretirement” tweet on Wednesday came across as interesting, in the light of his recent Twitter spat with Nurmagomedov. McGregor’s mention of faith, for one, came one day after the fighter shared a photo from Khabib’s wedding day and called his rival’s wife, who was wearing Muslim garb to cover her face, a “towel.” Per Yahoo Sports, this post was deleted soon after by McGregor.
In response, Nurmagomedov tweeted that McGregor is a “rapist” and a “hypocrite” whom justice will soon catch up with, seemingly making reference to the sexual assault allegations recently made against his rival. McGregor then followed up with another since-deleted Twitter response, where he suggested that the “plot twist” was that Nurmagomedov’s wife was actually a “goat” hiding beneath a “towel” in the aforementioned wedding photo.
For its part, Yahoo Sports speculated that McGregor’s retirement, the subsequent exchange of insults with Nurmagomedov, and Wednesday’s “see you in the Octagon” unretirement post are all part of a bigger plan to hype up a future rematch between both men. After Khabib defeated McGregor at UFC 229 in October to win the UFC Lightweight Championship, both fighters’ camps engaged in an infamous post-fight brawl that, as noted, stemmed from the personal remarks McGregor made against Nurmagomedov in the lead-up to the event.
In any case, it might be a while before such a rematch takes place, as USA Today reported in January that Nurmagomedov and McGregor were slapped nine- and six-month retroactive suspensions for their roles in the UFC 229 fracas.