Because of his hubristic, dare we say it, egomaniacal public persona, it’s easy to be lulled into thinking that Conor McGregor is still the cock of the walk.
But, actually, with three losses within his last six fights, the Irishman is very much at the crossroads of his MMA career.
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) June 22, 2021
The former two-weight world champion faces Dustin Poirier on July 11 in their trilogy bout, and defeat would be almost unthinkable for a guy who was once – and maybe still is – the most marketable fighter in the game.
Defeat would take McGregor out of the title picture in any weight division, and all that is left would be eye-catching brawls against the likes of Nate Diaz and Jorge Masvidal – those are both potential career-enders.
There are parallels between his career and the recent demise of his beloved Celtic FC, the Scottish soccer team who also once dominated all those they crossed.
The hoops won nine consecutive Scottish premiership titles between 2011 and 2020. However, their Glasgow city rivals Rangers would demolish them in the next season – the 25-point gap the most striking statistic from Celtic’s demise.
To help get his favored outfit back on their feet, it has been rumored that McGregor has been trying to invest some of his fortune into the club, and he even took to Twitter to claim he has tried to purchase shares from the majority stockholder, Dermot Desmond.
A conversation came up regarding Celtic first to be honest. To acquire shares from Dermot Desmond. I am certainly interested in acquiring a sports team at some stage!
Both Celtic and Man United are teams I like for sure. But I am open. I feel I could do big things for a club. https://t.co/KgD9qnYipP
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) May 9, 2021
As it stands today football prediction sites show that Celtic are priced at +150 by the sportsbooks to reclaim the Scottish Premiership trophy in 2022, while McGregor is a -110 hope to defeat Poirier – his opponent is the same odds, indicating just how much of a 50/50 contest their UFC 264 scrap is likely to be.
Fast forward 12 months, and maybe Celtic will be the reigning Scottish champions once more and McGregor will be planning for a lightweight championship clash with Charles Oliveira. But both will know the uphill task that faces them in getting there.
A Fall from Grace
One of McGregor’s sworn enemies has insisted that defeat to Poirier will end the Irishman’s MMA career.
And what’s more, Ali Abdelaziz – the manager of Khabib Nurmagomedov and Kamaru Usman – has claimed that all that will be left for the 32-year-old is exhibition boxing bouts against YouTubers like Jake Paul.
McGregor remains one of the biggest PPV draws in sport, and a fight with Paul would be a huge attraction at the box office – Paul’s brother, Logan, drew one million buys for his exhibition contest with Floyd Mayweather in June.
Of course, once you submit to a fight with a celebrity, you are essentially admitting that your professional career is over, and so the real question is how much gas does McGregor have left in the tank?
He has been an MMA fighter for 13 years now, and while a 27-fight resumé might not be the most prolific in that span, there are still plenty of miles on the McGregor clock.
It will become harder and harder for him to make the 155lb lightweight limit as the years pass too, and so it really is a case of now or never for one of the sport’s most controversial stars.