Two of the biggest Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) stars, Jon Jones and Conor McGregor, are both currently taking time off from the fight game. “Bones” — the current Light Heavyweight champion — made waves a few months back after saying he would vacate his title and take a year or two off after not getting the money he desired to fight Francis Ngannou.
McGregor, meanwhile, once again called it a day in his combat career because he was “bored of the game.” It was a move that caught many by surprise because “Notorious” had his whole year planned out after a previous lengthy hiatus. He was also fresh off a first round annihilation of Donald Cerrone at UFC 246 (see it here).
As usual, UFC President, Dana White, says he doesn’t like to focus on fighters who have claimed retirement or simply aren’t in the mood to fight. But when asked by Barstool Sports what his potential plans for both men were in 2020, White gave in and responded.
For starters, despite Jones’ willingness to give up his strap, White isn’t in a huge hurry to strip his dominant champion of his 205-pound title just yet.
“Not as of yet, no,” said White regarding the possibility of relieving Jones of his duties as 205-pound champion. “You know as much as I know. The last time he said he’s not fighting, he’s not fighting. We are feeling this thing out and when it’s time for him to fight, we will see.”
As far as McGregor, White has already gone through a couple of alleged retirements from his biggest star ever, so he feels a possible comeback is almost imminent. However, it will not be until 2021 since the outspoken head honcho guarantees McGregor will not fight this year.
“This year he is retired,” White said. “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 am not saying he won’t fight in 2021, but I am 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.”
And that’s that?
As far as the chances of McGregor taking a fight outside of the Octagon against boxing legend Manny Pacquiao, White scoffs at that notion, too, saying the Irishman would have certainly called him if he was indeed interested in that match.
That being said, White did go on to say that he — along with everyone else — isn’t 100 percent convinced this latest retirement will stick (just like his previous attempts).
“I am not focused with anything with anybody that is not fighting. Conor McGregor is retired. Do we all believe he will stay retired? I think most of don’t believe that he will remain retired.”
Furthermore, White says that while he still may shoot “Notorious” a text every now and again on a personal level, they haven't talked shop in some time. Then again, it seems that even with the absence of “Bones” and “Notorious” — along with the COVID-19 pandemic — UFC hasn’t missed a beat when it comes to upping its value.