Everyone is coming out of the woodwork to claim that UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor might never set foot in the Octagon again. The doubters include UFC president Dana White and welterweight champion Tyron Woodley.
Not so, McGregor said recently.
“My focus is getting back into the right ring or Octagon. 2017 was historic. I have transcended both the sport of MMA and boxing,” McGregor told his sponsor Betsafe, according to The MacLife. “At this stage of my career, as it has been for the majority of my UFC career, potential opponents must lobby for fights with me. We could see Conor McGregor anywhere. I run the fight game, the fashion game, the whiskey game, or whatever the next business endeavor might be.”
There’s no shortage of opponents who want a fight with McGregor. Why wouldn’t they? Anything his name is attached to comes with a bigger than average payday.
McGregor stepped into the boxing ring with Floyd Mayweather for the biggest payday of his career, so he’s likely in no rush to step into the Octagon without his contract reflecting what he thinks he’s worth. Speculation is that he was paid in the neighborhood of $100 million for his fight with Mayweather.
The UFC isn’t likely to pay him anywhere near that figure to fight in the Octagon, but the company is going to have to step up its game to get McGregor back in the cage.
“I have every intention of fighting in 2018 if my compensation and business development endeavors accurately reflect my influence on combat sports.”
Reading between those lines, he wants something significant from the UFC.
McGregor made overtures in the past that he wants equity in the company. He doesn’t simply want to fight for the UFC, he wants some sort of ownership stake or partnership. His company, McGregor Sports and Entertainment, was a co-promoter of his fight with Mayweather. If the UFC is unwilling to give him points in the company, perhaps it would relent and allow his company to co-promote alongside the UFC for his fights.
That would be unprecedented, but McGregor’s success is unprecedented in the world of mixed martial arts.
It’s a complex negotiation that could take time to work out, if it gets worked out at all. But as of right now, McGregor insists he wants to get back in the Octagon next year.