Conor McGregor announces retirement from UFC for a third time

Conor McGregor celebrates his comeback win

Conor McGregor has announced his retirement from UFC at the age of 31.

The controversial Irishman, formerly featherweight and lightweight champion and one of the biggest names in the business, tweeted the news following the conclusion of the UFC 250 event.

He wrote: "Hey guys I've decided to retire from fighting.

"Thank you all for the amazing memories! What a ride it's been! Here is a picture of myself and my mother in Las Vegas post one of my world title wins! Pick the home of your dreams Mags I love you! Whatever you desire it's yours."

Conor McGregor

McGregor, who bows out with a 22-4 record, has made similar announcements in the past - previously 'retiring' in 2016 and 2019 before making his way back to the octagon.

He was just one bout into his latest comeback, having reversed his earlier decision to take on Donald Cerrone in a welterweight contest at UFC246. McGregor won via TKO in just 40 seconds, his first success in over three years.

A 'superfight' against fellow UFC great Anderson Silva had been on the cards this year, with the latter publicly touting the head-to-head over the weekend.

Other potential opponents included long-time rival Khabib Nurmagomedov and Jorge Masvidal.

In 2017 McGregor took a high-profile detour into the world of professional boxing, going down in 10 rounds to Floyd Mayweather in a showpiece event in Las Vegas.

Conor McGregor - Five of the best

Max Holloway (TD Garden, Boston, August 2013)

A unanimous decision over a prospect who had seven wins and two losses does not appear to be remarkable at first glance, but Holloway has since gone on to establish himself among the company's finest fighters, with 12 successive wins taking him to the top of the featherweight pile. It was at the 145lb-limit where these two future stars faced off and McGregor, a little more than three months on from his UFC debut, was taken the distance for the first time in his 16th mixed martial arts contest. Victory was all the more impressive because he tore his anterior cruciate ligament at the halfway stage.

Jose Aldo (MGM Grand, Las Vegas, December 2015)

The hype around McGregor was growing rapidly and hit new heights with this 13-second blowout of a champion who boasted a 10-year unbeaten streak that spanned 18 fights. A picture perfect left cross knocked out the Brazilian before he hit the floor to signal an emphatic conclusion to a rivalry that had been building for months. With this win, McGregor proved he could back up his bravado and the 1.2million pay-per-view buys was a UFC record for a non-heavyweight contest, proving the charismatic Dubliner was one of the company's most bankable attractions.

Nate Diaz (T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, August 2016)

Five months on from a shock first defeat in the UFC, McGregor returned to Sin City and the welterweight limit - 25 pounds heavier than where he reigned at featherweight. McGregor, as he did in the first bout, started the rematch strongly and floored his rival three times inside the opening two rounds. The resilient Diaz, though, absorbed the punishment and took advantage of his opponent's fatigue to finish the fight on top, only to lose a majority decision. McGregor proclaimed "the king is back" after topping a bill that generated a UFC record 1.65m PPV buys.

Conor McGregor

Eddie Alvarez (Madison Square Garden, New York, November 2016)

Unsurprisingly, McGregor was the headliner as the UFC was staged in the Big Apple for the first time and he marked the occasion by joining all-time greats Randy Couture and BJ Penn in winning UFC titles across two weight classes, while he was the first to hold two belts at the same time. Alvarez, like many before him, was unable to handle the power of his foe and was knocked down three times in the opening round before being stopped three minutes into the second. McGregor therefore proved he was the man to beat at both featherweight and lightweight in what would prove to be his last UFC outing for almost two years.

Donald Cerrone (T Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, 2020)

After reversing his 2019 retirement, McGregor stepped back into the fray after 15 months away and more than three years since his last UFC victory. He needed just 40 seconds to reassert himself on his favourite state, flooring 'Cowboy' Cerrone with a precise head kick and a flying knee before the referee stepped in. In doing so McGregor became the first fighter to bank knockouts at featherweight, lightweight and, here, welterweight. "I made history here, I set another record," he declared at the end.

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