Former two-division UFC champion Conor McGregor said he has two fights remaining on his current contract with the promotion. If he fights twice this year as hoped, that could put him in free agency by 2024.
McGregor, though, said he’s not necessarily interested in doing business with another promoter on the heels of Nate Diaz and Francis Ngannou’s UFC departures.
“What, to go out and do a little side quest, and seeking to get some boxing dollars and all the rest of it?” McGregor said recently on The MMA Hour. “No, for me — for me, the UFC is pinnacle and it’s the company I love. It’s a company, I wish to be with this company for the rest of my career. I hope we can continue.”
It probably doesn’t hurt that, unlike Diaz and Ngannou, McGregor has gotten a good taste of the money possible from boxing. His “Money Fight” with Floyd Mayweather was the second-highest grossing domestic pay-pay-view ever, earning him more than $100 million despite a revenue split with the UFC and Mayweather Promotions. The fight put McGregor in a rarefied air for octagon combatants, who receive between 15 to 20 percent of the UFC’s revenue according to an ongoing anti-trust lawsuit against the promotion.
McGregor’s relationship with the UFC brass hasn’t always been tranquil, but he has never sought to test the open market like Ngannou and Diaz.
“I want to be in the UFC,” he said. “My catalog is in the UFC. My highlight reel is in the UFC. Look, let’s see what happens. I hope they feel the same also.
“I love the company dearly. It’s changed my life. It’s given me so much and it’s helped me in many situations in my life. ... The UFC is my company.”
Asked about Ngannou’s decision to let his UFC contract expire and seek other offers, McGregor implied the former heavyweight champion was ungrateful of the resources he’d received during his time with the promotion, pointing to the rehab facilities Ngannou used at the UFC Performance Institute after suffering a severe knee injury.
“Ngannou, think of all he got,” McGregor said. “He had his injury, he was in that PI using all the equipment, all everything, there was no dough on that. There would have been no charge on that. He’s getting the accommodation, he’s getting everything sorted.
“I thought he made an error, to be honest. I mean, he hasn’t fought in a minute. Get a bout under the belt and then maybe start. I wasn’t sure why he done that, to be honest. He kind of took the shine off him how it went, but look, I wish him well.”
McGregor is expected to return to the octagon later this year against Michael Chandler, with whom he recently completed filming on The Ultimate Fighter 31.
On a recent edition of The MMA Hour, Ngannou said he may take on former heavyweight boxing champ Deontay Wilder and then return to MMA, where ONE Championship and PFL lead as suitors. Diaz, meanwhile, recently called out Logan Paul after Paul’s younger brother, Jake Paul, suffered his first pro boxing loss in a meeting with Tommy Fury.