Conor McGregor has "retired" from the sport of Mixed Martial Arts twice, according to his tweets.
However, don't read much into what he says on social media when it comes to retiring, says the brash-Irishman.
The former UFC featherweight and lightweight champion makes his return to the UFC's octagon on Jan. 23 at UFC 257, in a rematch against Dustin Poirier, a man who he's already TKO'd in the first-round back at UFC 178. The UFC 257 bout won't be his last says McGregor.
“I’ll probably never retire from the game, to be honest,” McGregor told ESPN's Ariel Helwani.
“I’ll be competing for a long, long time yet," claimed McGregor. "It is certainly brought out of frustration when you’re trying to get these events going. You’re trying to get things moving and it’s just not happening. It felt like I was shelved almost. I felt like if I’d have been ran out a couple of more times that year, not only would my skill set and my sharpness and everything be in tune a lot more, we’d also be talking about $800 million in revenue for the company, it was certainly out of frustration."
“The past is the past. We’re in a great spot now," he continued. "I felt like I’ve got what I needed to get off my chest and I felt like it’s been reciprocated well, it’s come back, the other side has come back as well. I’m in a great spot and I’m excited to come back and that’s what we’re at. We’re focusing on the positive side of it and we’re focusing on the future.”
The 32-year old McGregor has "retired" twice via Twitter but had no actual plans to stop his active fighting career, most recently dubbing COVID-19 as the reason he claimed he was done:
“Come on, there was a lot of talks about me coming back,” McGregor said. “I was so eager to come back, I wanted to come back. The Tuesday after the fight against Cerrone I had that meeting with Lorenzo [Fertitta] and Dana and the conversation was what do we do now? What’s next? There didn’t really seem to be—What was the next bout? We had not got the answer at that dinner and it just didn’t come to fruition. I was eager, I was trying to get things moving and it just didn’t happen, with all the circumstances surrounding it, the year, it just went the way it went and it is what it is."
“I feel now I have transformed my body into a lightweight frame again. I’ve done it healthily, I’m full of energy, I’m full of vitality and I’m ready to showcase myself at 155 pounds at my absolute best and I’m very excited about that. Doing that also opens up many more options for me. There’s many lightweight contenders. There’s many options. I’ve even heard Nate is coming back down to 155, which is an exciting one. Obviously, there’s boxing escapades and things," he concluded. "I don’t think what happened last year will happen this year and I’ve kept that fire going throughout 2020 and I’m excited to continue it into 2021.”
UFC 257 takes place on Jan. 23 from the Etihad Arena on Fight Island in Abu Dhabi and is headlined by the rematch between Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier.