Conor McGregor’s mixed martial arts career hangs in the balance as the star of the Ultimate Fighting Championship licks his wounds following another high profile defeat. Notorious lost his trilogy bout with long-term rival Justin Poirier on the UFC 264 card meaning the Irishman has now won only one of his last four.
Not only was McGregor taken out in the first round by Diamond in Las Vegas, but he also suffered a horror leg break in the process which will keep him out of the octagon for the remainder of the year. Any comeback must be slow and deliberate. Conor can’t afford to recover and simply rush back to the octagon eager for revenge. He must spend his time on the sidelines carefully plotting his return.
Will that comeback involve taking part in more UFC fights, or will Team McGregor now look for challenges elsewhere? He has already achieved so much in MMA he would be forgiven for deciding he has seen enough. McGregor is a wealthy man on the back of his success, which means there’s no pressure on him to fight in future.
Injuries take their toll on Notorious
Following that early stoppage defeat to Poirier, it emerged that McGregor had been allowed to enter the fight with strapping on a leg injury. The Irishman said UFC officials, including chief Dana White, were well aware of stress fractures already present on his leg but allowed the contest to go ahead. Those fractures failed to stand up to an early assault from Diamond, and to those watching the contest at the T-Mobile Arena and live on television, it was obvious that Notorious wasn’t 100% fit and healthy.
White avoided questions on the matter at a recent press conference, refusing to be drawn on McGregor’s statement, but he did confirm the Irishman has chronic arthritis in his ankles. That’s a problem that can only be dealt with by surgery, but that procedure would have to take place after the broken leg heals.
With his form showing three defeats in four and the injuries building up following a career spent at the top of his sport, it’s looking increasingly unlikely McGregor will be back fighting in UFC. So, what’s next for him. He recently purchased a multi-million dollar yacht. Could he use that to race off into the sunset and concentrate on his fledgling whisky business? It’s possible, of course, but unlikely. If sports fans have learned anything about how Conor likes to do things, they’ll know he’s not a character that will slip out through the backdoor.
So, what are the options open to the 33-year-old when he finally does return?
McGregor has experience
One live route back to the fight game is a return to professional boxing where he could face young upstart, Jake Paul. The YouTuber who has taken the noble art by storm this year was quick to mock McGregor following his loss to Poirier. The American believes he is destined for the top of the sport and has been heard calling out the likes of Saul Alvarez. He has already edged his way into pro boxing and looks capable of carving out a career in the trade if he is serious about challenging for titles in future.
Calling out McGregor was certainly a smart move in terms of enhancing his profile. Paul has already started tongues wagging with rumours. We could see Paul vs McGregor in a boxing ring when the Irishman returns to full fitness. Having faced Floyd Mayweather in 2018 on his pro boxing debut, McGregor will feel his background will be more than enough to see him defeat the YouTuber.
It remains to be seen who would win a boxing match between McGregor and Paul, but one thing is for certain, the pair would have no troubles hyping up the fight and ensuring it became one of the highest-grossing bouts of the year. Both bring huge fan bases who would be only too happy to buy tickets and purchase pay-per-view. It would also attract the attention of boxing followers, eager to witness a well-matched fight between two novices with ambition. Keep your eyes on that story.