By: Hans Themistode
His time in the boxing ring was a spectacle but it didn’t go the way he was hoping.
It wasn’t the first time that someone was a dominant figure inside the UFC but it just felt different. Once Conor McGregor broke onto the mixed martial arts stage, he became world-renowned.
While the rules of the barbaric sport allow their participants to kick, choke, wrestle and leave their opponent in a bloody unconscious mess, McGregor didn’t appear to be a fan of using all of the tools he’s permitted. Instead, the Ireland star enjoyed watching a man crumble underneath the force of his left hand.
It was those very hands that saw McGregor leave the likes of Eddie Alvarez, Jose Also, Chad Mendes and several others, unaware of what took place seconds prior, as the Irishmen celebrated his victory with the crowd.
Those wins, along with his brazen trash talk, saw the Irishmen make the crossover move.
In 2017, McGregor audaciously stepped into the ring with one of the greatest fighters in history in Floyd Mayweather. Heading in, McGregor was given no chance of even grazing the chin of the newly inducted Hall of Famer, let alone land anything flush. Yet, despite coming up short, as he was stopped in the tenth round, most of the fighting world cheered as McGregor gave Mayweather all he could handle.
Several years later and McGregor was plotting his return, this time, against Manny Pacquiao. Both sides openly expressed interest in facing one another and all signs pointed to a clash that was supposedly set to take place in the latter half of 2021. All that was needed for McGregor to do was take care of business against Dustin Poirier in the UFC’s octagon on January 23rd, earlier this year. Seemed easy enough. After all, McGregor violently stopped him some seven years prior.
But just as McGregor dreamed of taking on the legendary boxing icon, Poirier, quite literally, put him to sleep and put an end to those thoughts, via second-round stoppage.
Recently, McGregor admitted that he was “looking past” Poirier and looked ahead to his match with Pacquiao. Now, with the two set to do it again in just a few short hours at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, McGregor claims that he hasn’t treated his preparation for Poirier flippantly this time around. Whether he’s focused or not, the betting public isn’t standing firmly behind him.
Money continues to pour in on Poirier to handle his man in similar fashion. A loss at this point for the Irishmen would leave an indelible stain on his resume. Not on his legacy, but the here and now.
Having won only one fight in the past five years, whether it be in the ring or cage, the desire to leave his UFC gloves in the octagon should he come up short again tonight, is a strong possibility. With approximately $100 million added to his bank account following his loss to Mayweather and roughly three times that amount lined into his pockets after recently selling the majority stake of his whisky brand, Proper 12, McGregor is well off.
Still, even after setting up his family tree with generational money, McGregor enjoys a good scrap. His desire to continue stepping into the octagon though, as opposed to the much more lucratively inclined boxing ring, could be waning should he pick up another loss later tonight.
Ultimately, the doors into the boxing world that he kept ajar following his loss to Mayweather several years ago, is still one he is likely to walk through, at some point.
“I will box again,” said McGregor during an ESPN interview with Ariel Helwani earlier this year. “I will get a boxing world title.”
Whether McGregor picks up the shattered pieces of his UFC career and protracts his time in the octagon is inconsequential at this point.
As the Irish star walks into the cage tonight and has those steel doors close shut behind him, this could be the last time he’s seen in that setting ever again. Particularly, if he picks up another devastating loss.