Conor McGregor slammed the UFC for holding him back from fighting in the octagon as the former champion switches to boxing and prepares for a showdown with Manny Pacquiao.

McGregor and boxing legend Pacquiao are set to go head-to-head in the ring in 2021 – a huge portion of the earnings to be donated to those affected by the coronavirus pandemic, the latter's aide Jayke Joson said on Saturday.

Irishman McGregor announced his decision to retire in June, having returned to the UFC in January after a 15-month absence and knocked out Donald Cerrone at welterweight in just 40 seconds.

McGregor has not fought since – the former featherweight and lightweight champion had been planning to fight three times in 2020, but the COVID-19 crisis scuppered that strategy.

UFC president Dana White has previously hinted at a possible comeback next year after revealing he is working on some "fun stuff" for McGregor, however, the 32-year-old hit out via Instagram.

"The very first shot of the fight," McGregor wrote as he discussed his 2017 defeat to unbeaten boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. "Right on the button through the guard. I didn't even put anything into that shot. Just placed it. It was hard for me not to dwell on the full 12 rounds that were potentially ahead of me and hold back my shots early.

"Still tho [sic] right on the absolute button. The first punch thrown. Remember the experts saying I wouldn't land even one lol. I landed more than them all. The picture above is the very first punch of the fight thrown, and landed, and inside the very first second of the fight. Bums all of them 'experts'. Listen to none of them! Really I should have just sat right thru that shot and took his head off and f*** the distance. If it didn't work out just give him a good boot into the neck and get DQ'd [disqualified] and fined and who'd give a f***. I'm upset I fully followed the rules for that fight to be honest. Floyd deserved a volley at the least. A shoulder even, break the face.

"Manny not so much tho [sic] I don't think, but I will see how the build-up goes and wait to hear what bitter old Freddie Roach has to say and then make a decision. My Whiskeys at half a b and climbing I could take a fine. I'd rather fight MMA anyway not sure why I've been held back like this, it's borderline criminal at this stage.

"The biggest number generator in the game asking for four fights since February this year and getting left on seen. It's pretty f***** up when I keep thinking of it. I've been right here this whole time. Bob Chapek, do you copy! I repeat, Bob Chapek - Do You Copy!

"Anyways boxing it is for now and I'm up for this! I hope no bottling takes place here. I'm already agreeing to these limited rules and holding back my full array of weapons. Let's get it going guys. Much love, the champ champ."

Manny Pacquiao will fight former UFC champion Conor McGregor in 2021 to raise money for victims of coronavirus.

On Friday, McGregor – who sensationally retired in June – claimed he was set to step into the ring with boxing legend Pacquiao in the Middle East next year.

Pacquiao's camp confirmed the bout on Saturday, with the 41-year-old's Filipino aide Jayke Joson saying via ESPN: "For the sake of all the Filipino Covid-19 victims, Senator Manny Pacquiao will be fighting UFC superstar Conor McGregor next year.

"The huge portion of his earnings will proceed to those who are affected nationwide by the pandemic."

McGregor – who has not fought since his win over Donald Cerrone in January – lost to unbeaten boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. in August 2017.

Pacquiao (62-7-2) fought twice last year, winning the WBA (Super) welterweight title by beating Keith Thurman in July 2019.

Conor McGregor claimed he was set to fight Manny Pacquiao in the Middle East in his next outing.

McGregor, a former UFC featherweight and lightweight champion, sensationally retired in June, but it was hinted earlier this month that the Irishman would return next year.

After a long Twitter rant during which he vented his frustration at a lack of action this year – his only fight has been a win over Donald Cerrone in January – McGregor said he was set for a return to boxing.

McGregor lost to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in August 2017 and is now set to meet 41-year-old Filipino Pacquiao.

"I'm boxing Manny Pacquiao next in the Middle East," he wrote.

"It will be a true honour to have faced two of the greatest boxers of the modern era, afraid of a fight."

Pacquiao (62-7-2) fought twice last year, winning the WBA (Super) welterweight title by beating Keith Thurman in July 2019.

UFC president Dana White said he is working on some "fun stuff" for Irish star Conor McGregor as he hinted at a possible comeback next year.

McGregor announced his decision to retire in June, having returned to the Octagon in January after a 15-month absence and knocked out Donald Cerrone at welterweight in just 40 seconds.

Former featherweight and lightweight champion McGregor had been planning to fight three times in 2020, however, the coronavirus pandemic scuppered that strategy.

White previously said no bout was planned for McGregor in 2021 but he told ESPN's SportsCenter on Thursday: "We're actually working on some fun stuff for Conor at the beginning of next year.

"He should be back next year. I'm not saying he's coming back to fight, guaranteed, but we're talking right now about some stuff."

The 32-year-old McGregor boasts a 22-4 record, which includes wins over Eddie Alvarez, Nate Diaz and Jose Aldo, though he lost a blockbuster showdown to unbeaten Russian rival Khabib Nurmagomedov in October 2018.

McGregor's agent Audie Attar added to ESPN: "We had some very interesting talks with the UFC recently. We are excited about the future and working on some fun things. Exciting things to come in the near future."

Conor McGregor declared Katie Taylor to be "Ireland's greatest" after his compatriot retained her status as undisputed lightweight champion with another knife-edge thriller against Delfine Persoon.

Taylor, 34, extended her unblemished professional boxing record to 16-0 with a narrow unanimous decision win over Belgium's Persoon, who she claimed a contentious triumph over in New York last June to unify the WBC, WBA, IBF and WBO belts at 135 lbs.

Saturday's return at Matchroom Fight Camp was another close encounter, with Persoon's relentless style again causing problems for the technically brilliant Taylor, but the champion's crisper work was enough to prevail 96-94 on two cards, along with being awarded a bizarrely wide 98-93.

McGregor, the recently retired UFC star, has long been a vocal admirer of Taylor and tweeted to claim she had found a definitive conclusion to the Persoon rivalry.

He tweeted: "Huge congrats Katie Taylor!!! Put that one to bed for sure, no questions!

"Top drawer stuff as always from Ireland’s greatest!"

Taylor, who also won the WBO light-welterweight title by beating Christina Linardatou last November, conceded she had been subjected to another gruelling night's work against Persoon, who slips to 44-3.

"It's never easy against Delfine, she is relentless. I knew I had to dig deep," Taylor told Sky Sports.

"I boxed better last time. I stuck to my boxing more. That got me through. I hit her with clean shots but she attacked all the time."

In the main event in Brentwood, Alexander Povetkin left Dillian Whyte's world heavyweight title ambitions in tatters by recovering from two fourth-round knockdowns to demolish his foe with a brutal left uppercut in round five.

UFC president Dana White said Conor McGregor will not fight again this year, while adding no bout is planned for the Irish star in 2021.

McGregor announced his decision to retire in June, having returned to the Octagon in January after a 15-month absence and knocked out Donald Cerrone at welterweight in just 40 seconds.

Former featherweight and lightweight champion McGregor had been planning to fight three times in 2020, however, the coronavirus pandemic scuppered that strategy.

And White insisted there are no plans for McGregor to return to UFC in 2020.

"This year, he is retired," White told Barstool Sports on Monday.

"He doesn't have a fight this year, and he won't have a fight this year. Conor McGregor will not fight in 2020.

"I'm not saying he won't fight in 2021, but I'm telling you we don't have a fight planned for him in 2021. But I guarantee you he will not fight in 2020. Conor McGregor is retired."

White added: "Do we all believe he'll stay retired? I think most of us don't believe that he'll remain retired, but let me put it to you this way: I owe fighters that are under contract with me three fights a year.

"OK? If I don't deliver those three fights a year, I have to pay them. Conor McGregor is retired, whether people want to believe it or not.

"He is not fighting right now, so when he's not fighting, I don't even think about him or what he's doing or any of that stuff on a business level. I'll still shoot him a text personally, but on a business level, he's out of the mix. He's not fighting at all. So everybody keeps asking questions about him, and I'm like, 'Manny Pacquiao? What the f*** are you talking about?"

Kamaru Usman claims he offered Conor McGregor a shot at the welterweight title but was met with silence.

Former featherweight and lightweight champion McGregor returned to the Octagon in January after a 15-month absence and knocked out Donald Cerrone at welterweight in just 40 seconds.

It was the first of three fights the Irishman was planning in 2020, but the coronavirus pandemic scuppered that strategy and he announced he had decided to retire in June.

Usman says he was willing to face McGregor but received no response from the 32-year-old.

Asked about a possible fight with McGregor, Usman told TMZ Sports: "That's just a lost cause. The only time Conor gets up to the welterweight division is if he's able to pick and choose lightweights with double-digit losses that he can pick off and not have to cut weight to get down to lightweight.

"If Conor wants a piece at welterweight, he knows who the king of the division is. I'm not going anywhere. I'm right here.

"I've offered him a shot. I said, 'Hey, do you want it? It's yours, you got it'. And he was silent.

"Days later, Anderson Silva says, 'Hey, let's do it'. And he responded and said, 'Yeah'. It's clear right there to know if Conor is willing to step up and take a fight like this, but I think he's a wise guy so he should just stay retired.

"If Conor wants to put my name in his mouth, then come get some. Anybody wants to say something about me then just come get some. That's it. I'm the king. I'm not in a position where I wanna call people out, I'm not doing that."

However, Usman would be interested in taking on former welterweight and middleweight champion Georges St-Pierre, who has not fought since November 2017 and has been retired for the past 18 months.

He said: "As far as Georges St-Pierre, yeah I would love to test myself against a guy like that. But, as far as Conor [goes], if he wants a piece, he can come talk to the king.

"Those aspirations of becoming a welterweight champion severely turn into nightmares when you step inside that Octagon with me."

Conor McGregor has been warned there is no chance of him walking straight back into UFC title contention if he cuts short his latest stint in retirement.

The Irishman is a former lightweight and featherweight champion and ranks among mixed martial arts' most bankable stars, a proven pay-per-view draw.

McGregor landed a rapid win over Donald Cerrone at welterweight in January, but he announced last month he would be quitting the sport.

At the time, McGregor said there was "nothing that's exciting me", but he also expressed frustration at being denied a shot at Justin Gaethje's interim lightweight title.

Immense scepticism surrounds McGregor's plans to stay out of UFC, given the 32-year-old has twice retired and returned to the Octagon, and a third comeback would surprise nobody.

Khabib Nurmagomedov, the Russian lightweight titan, is lining up a fight against Gaethje before the end of 2020 to settle who rules that division.

Ali Abdelaziz, who manages Khabib, does not see McGregor being considered a challenger to either man in the near future, and claims Gaethje ruled out going in for such a fight in the coming months.

"Justin said no," Abdelaziz told TMZ Sports.

"Khabib told me to tell Justin to go fight Conor. Justin said no.

"Conor, right now he can be a back-up fighter, he can go make weight and maybe make some money, but at the end of the day it's the two champions.

"He's not even number three, he's number four or five. He can go fight Nate [Diaz], fight [Jorge] Masvidal. He needs to get some wins and fight some good opponents.

"I said the only way he can fight Khabib is if he fights Islam Makhachev – and then Khabib will fight him."

Conor McGregor is going to some lengths to double down on his claims he has retired from the fight game.

The former featherweight and lightweight champion made his announcement in the immediate aftermath of UFC 250.

There were some rather sceptical reactions given McGregor has now said he is calling it quits for a third time in four years.

Still, following his initial tweet, McGregor spoke to ESPN about how he has lost his love for the game and opened up about frustrations over being offered "stupid fights" by UFC.

And, on Sunday, McGregor posted a picture on Instagram of cake with an icing inscription that read "Happy Retirement Daddy x".

It remains to be seen if this really is the end for 'The Notorious' in UFC, especially given the fact he had planned on fighting three times in 2020.

The first of those ended a 14-month hiatus and resulted in an impressive first-round victory over Donald Cerrone in January.

But the coronavirus pandemic has put paid to even the best laid plans and the stacked lightweight division has been particularly impacted.

Champion Khabib Nurmagomedov was initially slated to face Tony Ferguson, only to have to pull out of the fight due to travel restrictions.

Ferguson instead went head to head with Justin Gaethje for the interim belt and suffered a brutal defeat that shook up the division.

With Gaethje expected to face Khabib to unify the belts later in the year, McGregor became frustrated by waiting around for an opponent.

Whether this is the end for McGregor or not, it really does look a tasty cake…

Conor McGregor explained his latest retirement announcement was because "the game does not excite" him and he is frustrated over being offered "stupid fights" by UFC.

The Irishman took to Twitter immediately after UFC 250 on Saturday to declare he has "decided to retire from fighting".

Understandably the post was met with some scepticism given this marks the third time in the space of four years McGregor – one of UFC's all-time biggest stars – has said he is calling it quits.

McGregor had spoken of plans to fight three times in 2020, which started with an emphatic win over Donald Cerrone in January, though the coronavirus pandemic threw a spanner in the works.

Things were further complicated in the lightweight division when Khabib Nurmagomedov's title defence against Tony Ferguson was cancelled, with Ferguson going on to lose a bout for the interim strap to Justin Gaethje.

McGregor, in an interview with ESPN's Ariel Helwani, said those factors had dampened his enthusiasm.

"The game just does not excite me, and that's that," McGregor said. "All this waiting around. There's nothing happening. 

"I'm going through opponent options, and there's nothing really there at the minute. There's nothing that's exciting me.

"They should have just kept the ball rolling. I mean, why are they pushing [Khabib Nurmagomedov versus Gaethje] back to September? You know what's going to happen in September, something else is going to happen in September, and that's not going to happen. 

"I laid out a plan and a method that was the right move, the right methods to go with. And they always want to balk at that and not make it happen or just drag it on. 

"Whatever I say, they want to go against it to show some kind of power. They should have just done the fight - me and Justin for the interim title - and just kept the ball rolling.

"I'm a bit bored of the game. I'm here watching the fight. I watched the last show - the [Tyron] Woodley-[Gilbert] Burns show - I watched the show tonight [UFC 250]. 

"I'm just not excited about the game. I don't know if it's no crowd. I don't know what it is. There's just no buzz for me."

It was reported the company wanted McGregor, UFC's first dual-weight champion, to fight again in July but, while money was not an issue, finding an opponent has been.

The legendary Anderson Silva challenged McGregor to a catchweight bout, which interested the 31-year-old but there is seemingly little clamour to book the showdown.

"I had my goals, my plans, the season. I had everything laid out," added McGregor. "Obviously the world has gone bleeding bonkers at the minute. 

"There's f*** all happening at the minute. They want to throw me up and down weights and offer me stupid fights. I don't really give a f***. I'm over it.

"There's nothing there for me. I'm trying to get excited. I'm trying my best. And when the Anderson one came along, I was like, 'Yeah, s***, that's a mad fight.'

"And then everyone said he's old and over the hill. I was, like, what? Fighting a former light heavyweight and the middleweight GOAT, and the actual GOAT in my eyes, that's not a rewardable fight? And you know, you're actually right. It wouldn't be rewarded. 

"I would go in there and put him away, and then what would happen? They'd say he's old and he's over the hill and he's past his prime and all.

"I don't know. It's just crazy. I was cutting to 155, and then because I asked for 155, they wanted to show power and stomp all over me. I don't know why they do this. But it was taken from me and then pushed back. 

"So then I'm thinking I don't want to be cutting if I'm fighting at 170. I have to be careful here. My body has to be correct to the weight. And then the 176 [Silva] talk. I'm just over it, man."

Conor McGregor says he has retired from the fight game but there is more than a sense of deja vu about the announcement.

The Irishman, who has a 22-4 MMA record, took to Twitter following UFC 250 to declare that he is stepping away from combat sports.

McGregor's comments have, understandably, been met with a degree of scepticism given this marks the third time in the space of four years the former UFC featherweight and lightweight champion has said he is calling it quits.

Below, we take a look at the context surrounding each of his retirement announcements.


April 2016: "I have decided to retire young. Thanks for the cheese."

It was over four years ago that McGregor, then aged 27, first hinted he was done with fighting when he tweeted: "I have decided to retire young. Thanks for the cheese."

On that occasion it took just two days for McGregor to clarify he had not actually retired but had fallen out with UFC bosses over promotional work.

"I am paid to fight. I am not yet paid to promote. I have become lost in the game of promotion and forgot about the art of fighting," he explained.

"There comes a time when you need to stop handing out flyers and get back to the damn shop."

McGregor was pulled from UFC 200 that year where he was slated for a rematch with Nick Diaz, with president Dana White saying:  "I respect Conor as a fighter and I like him as a person, but you can't decide not to show up to these things.

McGregor would eventually avenge his Diaz defeat at UFC 202.
 

March 2019: "I've decided to retire from the sport formally known as 'Mixed Martial Art.'"

After reneging on his first retirement, McGregor went on to become UFC's first dual-weight champion by defeating Eddie Alvarez to win the lightweight title.

A sign of his power to really transcend the fight game was his lucrative boxing bout with Floyd Mayweather in August 2017 but things became a little ugly when he returned to the Octagon to face Khabib Nurmagomedov in October 2018.

Bad blood in the build-up, which included McGregor attacking a bus carrying Khabib and other athletes, spilled over into fight night when, after Khabib scored a submission victory, the two camps were involved in an ugly post-bout fracas.

Five months later, McGregor said he was stepping away, writing on Twitter: "Hey guys quick announcement, I've decided to retire from the sport formally known as 'Mixed Martial Art' today.

"I wish all my old colleagues well going forward in competition. I now join my former partners on this venture, already in retirement. Proper Pina Coladas on me fellas!"

High-profile incidents away from the ring plagued McGregor and his decision came two weeks after he was charged for allegedly smashing and stealing a man's phone in Miami – charges that were later dropped dropped over inconsistencies in the victim's testimony.

In the meantime, McGregor launched his 'Proper Twelve' whiskey brand, leading White to say: "He's retiring from fighting, not from working. The whiskey will keep him busy and I'm sure he has other things he's working on."

But once again McGregor would reverse his decision…


June 2020: " Thank you all for the amazing memories! What a ride it's been!"

More issues away from MMA followed McGregor and in November last year he was fined €1,000 after pleading guilty to an assault of a man at a pub in Dublin.

But a refocused McGregor was booked to fight Donald 'Cowboy' Cerrone, a contest he wrapped up emphatically in the first round in January, and he spoke of his desire to fight three times in 2020.

The coronavirus pandemic has affected those plans, while the direction of a talent-heavy lightweight division remains unclear.

Yet, the timing of McGregor's latest retirement announcement is perhaps the most surprising yet.

After UFC 250, he wrote on Twitter: "Hey guys I've decided to retire from fighting.

"Thank you all for the amazing memories! What a ride it's been! Here is a picture of myself and my mother in Las Vegas post one of my World title wins!

"Pick the home of your dreams Mags I love you! Whatever you desire it's yours."

Responding to the latest proclamtion, White said: "We're in a pandemic, the world is a crazy place right now. 

"If these guys want to sit out and retire right now, or if anybody feels uncomfortable in any shape or form about what's going on, you don't have to fight – it's all good. 

"So if that's what's Conor's feeling right now, Jon Jones, Jorge Masvidal, I feel you."

The smart thing to do right now would be to watch this space…

Conor McGregor's retirement announcements are becoming so frequent they should be taken with the proverbial pinch of salt.

The big-talking Irishman has twice previously said he is calling it quits from the fight game, once in 2016 and also in March last year, which came five months after his UFC 229 loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov in October 2018.

Such a decision now appears strange given McGregor returned to the Octagon in January with a devastating first-round defeat of Donald 'Cowboy' Cerrone and expressed plans to fight three times this year.

The coronavirus pandemic has likely scuppered that scenario but McGregor – who made his declaration on Twitter following UFC 250 – has still been vocal in baiting his rivals.

Still, if we are to take the former UFC featherweight and lightweight champion at his word and this really is goodbye to an MMA legend, now is a good opportunity to look back at some of McGregor's most withering put downs of his opponents.

 

I RUN THIS WHOLE SHIP!

Ahead of his scrap with Eddie Alvarez for the lightweight belt at UFC 205 in November 2016, McGregor had some choice words for those who felt he received preferential treatment from president Dana White.

"I run this whole thing. I run New York. I run this whole ship. Without me none of this happens. I run this whole s***. Everyone in this game does what they're f****** told except for me and rightly f****** so. If I say you're on the prelims, you're on the f****** prelims. If I say main event, it's the f****** main event."

HIS WIFE AND KIDS WON'T RECOGNISE HIM!

Alvarez himself did not escape McGregor's ire, with the Irishman making some pretty gruesome promises.

"I'm going to toy with this man. I will rearrange his facial structure. His wife and kids won't recognise him again. His friends will know he's not the same after this contest. You're never, ever going to be the same. Your kids are going to beg, 'Daddy, please don't go again!'"

WHO THE F*** IS THAT GUY?!

When McGregor was asked prior to facing Alvarez who his biggest rival is, Jeremy Stephens called out: "Right here, the real hardest-hitting 145-pounder, right here." McGregor replied with a brutally simple six-word put-down.

"Who the f*** is that guy?!"

I'D LIKE TO APOLOGISE…TO ABSOLUTELY NOBODY!

McGregor kept his word to defeat Alvarez and become the first UFC fighter to hold belts in two divisions at the same time. His post-fight interview produced this absolute gem.

"I've ridiculed everyone on the roster, I just want to say from the bottom of my heart, I'd like to take this chance to apologise…to absolutely nobody!"

I CAN MAKE YOU RICH, I'LL CHANGE YOUR BUM LIFE!

Back in September 2015 at a 'Go Big' news conference, McGregor launched one of his most famous tirades. Replying to comments from Rafael dos Anjos, who was promoting a fight with Cerrone, he bragged about the attention he brings to UFC.

"I can make you rich. I'll change your bum life. You fight me, it's a celebration. When you sign to fight me, it's a celebration. You ring back home, you ring your wife, 'Baby, we've done it. We're rich baby. Conor McGregor made us rich. Break out the red panties.'”

YOU'RE STIFF AS A BOARD!

At the same media event, McGregor replied to Cerrone's assertion he could not cut it at 155lbs.

"You're too slow and you're too stiff. You're stiff as a board and I'd snap you in half, and that's it. I see stiffness when I look in the 155-pound division...slow, stiff, I feel like they're stuck in the mud almost. Yee-haw!"

I COULD BUY AND SELL YOU A HUNDRED TIMES OVER

The bad blood between McGregor and Nate Diaz drew some of the most heated comments from the Irishman.

"My socks are worth more than the suit you had on, you little bum. You're a broke b****. I could buy and sell you a hundred times over."

THE KING IS BACK!

After avenging his loss to Diaz by winning the rematch at UFC 202, McGregor had a simple message for his detractors.

"Surprise, surprise, motherf******! The king is back!”

I NEED TO FEED EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU IN THE GAME

McGregor was named Fighter of the Year for 2015. He was typically…let's say gracious...with his speech when accepting the award.

"I need to feed all you bums. I need to feed every single one of you in the game so I've got to keep working. Because you bums don't work."

KHABIB YOU ABSOLUTE EMBARRASSMENT!

Only last month, McGregor was calling out his lightweight rivals on social media with a brutal rant. Justin Gaethje, who sensationally defeated Tony Ferguson at UFC 249, and Khabib were his targets.

"Justin, there is no danger in a man that hugs legs, we all know. Try and dance around what the real threat is here all you want. I am going to f****** butcher you. Your teeth. I'm going to put them on a f****** necklace. Speak on my skills as a father? You are f****** dead."

"Khabib you absolute embarrassment. Scurrying, hiding rat as usual. As I have said many times. As has been seen many times."

Conor McGregor said he is retiring from fighting, the UFC star announced via social media.

McGregor made the announcement on Twitter following UFC 250 in Las Vegas on Saturday, however, it is not the first time the Irishman has called it quits.

Former UFC featherweight and lightweight champion McGregor said he was retiring in March 2019 after losing to Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229 in October 2018, while he also did the same in 2016.

But McGregor returned to the octagon with a devastating first-round TKO of Donald Cerrone at UFC 246 in January.

UFC president Dana White recently said he had not talked to McGregor about his next fight amid the coronavirus pandemic as the 31-year-old eyed a bout.

But after Amanda Nunes and Cody Garbrandt celebrated wins, McGregor wrote: "Hey guys I’ve decided to retire from fighting.

"Thank you all for the amazing memories! What a ride it’s been! Here is a picture of myself and my mother in Las Vegas post one of my World title wins!

"Pick the home of your dreams Mags I love you! Whatever you desire it's yours."

McGregor – who last month said he had accepted a proposal to fight against Anderson Silva – has earned a 22-4 record in mixed martial arts, with just two losses in the UFC.

He also stepped into the boxing ring to fight unbeaten American legend Floyd Mayweather Jr, losing in 2017.

Asked about McGregor on Saturday, White told reporters: "Nobody is pressuring anybody to fight. And if Conor McGregor feels he wants to retire, you know my feelings about retirement -- you should absolutely do it. And I love Conor...there's a handful of people that have made this really fun for me. And he's one of them."

White added: "If that's what Conor is feeling right now -- Jon Jones, Jorge Masvidal, I feel you. It's not like I'm going, 'Holy s***, this is crazy, this is nuts.'

"Nothing is crazy and nuts right now, because everything is crazy and nuts right now, on a certain level. I totally understand it and get it."

Dana White said he has not talked to Conor McGregor about his next fight, while the UFC president believes Mike Tyson has something "lined up" ahead of his reported boxing return.

UFC star McGregor has not fought since January and the Irishman is itching to return to the octagon amid the coronavirus pandemic.

McGregor has been vocal on social media, calling out Justin Gaethje earlier this month after the American dominated Tony Ferguson at UFC 249 behind closed doors in Jacksonville, Florida.

Asked about McGregor, White said the former UFC featherweight and lightweight champion just needs to bide his time.

"Conor and I have not talked about fighting," White told ESPN. "If you're Conor, sitting at home, everybody is calling you out, in every weight division. Who's next?

"I'm waiting for [heavyweight Daniel Cormier] to call him out, you know? Conor, his personality, he's going to respond to that.

"I think what Conor needs to do is sit back and let these fights start rolling out. Obviously, the most important division is the 155-pound [lightweight] division. See what plays out."

Away from the octagon and in boxing, legendary fighter Tyson appears to be closing in on a stunning comeback.

Former heavyweight champion Tyson last fought professionally in 2005 but the 53-year-old has cut an incredibly fit figure amid links to Evander Holyfield, Tito Ortiz and Tyson Fury.

"Originally, I came out and said, 'Listen, I'd like Mike not to fight,'" said White. "I even got Mike a TV show, to try and keep him from fighting. But Mike Tyson is a grown man, he can do whatever. The guy is powerful, looks explosive and has gotten himself in great shape.

"From what I'm hearing from them, they have something lined up, something big. He's going to get in there. We talked about it and he said, 'Listen, I feel that fire in my stomach. I want to get in there and mix it up again.' I'm fully supportive of him."

Khabib Nurmagomedov branded Conor McGregor the "greatest UFC fighter in Twitter history" in response to his rival's GOAT list posted on social media.

Former UFC featherweight and lightweight champion McGregor revealed his top four on Saturday, putting Anderson Silva at number one but making clear the Brazilian has some stiff competition to be considered the greatest - from the Irishman himself, of course.

"My array of finishes, across 3 divisions, with champion status in 2, I'm No.2. If not tied 1," McGregor wrote on Twitter. "However [I'm] still active, No.1 is fully secured by career end. And easily."

Georges St-Pierre and Jon Jones also made the list, but there was no place for undefeated lightweight champion Khabib.

Asked to explain the Russian's absence, McGregor replied: "Fancy record but a way to go before any GOAT entry.

"Only HL [highlight] is win over me with hangover and broken foot. Other than that, made Iaquinta's career with bad performance before Cerrone ended it again. 3rds to get Poirier out. 0 array of finishes. Bottled many bouts. Zero else of note."

Khabib, who defeated McGregor by submission at UFC 229 in 2018, countered with a tweet of his own, pointing out what he perceives to be fundamental flaws in McGregor's own case.

"You tapped out in featherweight, you tapped out in lightweight and you tapped in welterweight," Khabib wrote.

"You never defended title in the UFC or Cage Warriors, you gave up more than GSP, Spider and Bones all together. You greatest UFC fighter in Twitter history."

Jones also got involved in the debate, putting up a list of fighters to have the most wins in UFC title bouts - with McGregor obviously not among them - along with the comment: "Goat where you at."

The light-heavyweight champion also later quote-tweeted Khabib's post, adding: "Like I said I’ll let the fans do the debating for me, thanks Khabib."

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