Conor McGregor has no plans to leave Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and seek even bigger dollars in free agency once his current contract expires.
That’s the message “The Notorious” sent during and interview on The MMA Hour last night, and he questioned the wisdom of Francis Ngannou for walking away from UFC as well. McGregor was asked what he thought of several big-name UFC stars like Ngannou and Nate Diaz leaving the promotion.
It was a pertinent question because the Irish sports star is just two fights away from potentially doing the same thing.
“To go out and do a little side-quest seeking to get boxing dollars and the rest of it?” McGregor replied. “For me, the UFC is pinnacle. It’s the company I love, it’s the company I wish to be with this company for the rest of my career. So I’ve got two fights left on my contract and I hope we can continue. So, I wanna be in the UFC, that’s my catalog, is in the UFC. My highlight reel is in the UFC.
“Although look, let’s see what happens,” he added. “I hope they want it. I hope they feel the same way also.”
McGregor has had numerous tiffs with UFC management over the years. He threatened to retire when the UFC slow-rolled his 2020 comeback plans to fight four times. One year before that, he got into a battle over demanding equity in the company he helped build up to a $3+ billion sale. He was even prepared to use the Muhammad Ali boxing act to break his contract to fight Floyd Mayweather.
So, he’s not the type to accept whatever UFC offers. He’d just prefer to stay with the promotion if doesn’t jerk him around.
“Look, I love the company dearly, it’s changed my life,” he continued. “It’s given me so much, and it’s helped me in many situations in my life. So, I’m just ... the UFC is my company.”
That brought McGregor on to Ngannou.
“Like if you think of Ngannou, think of all he got,” McGregor said. “He was in that [Performance Institute] using all the equipment, all everything. There was no dough on that, there was no charge on that. He’s getting accommodation, everything sorted. I thought he made an error, to be honest. He hasn’t fought in a minute, get a belt under the belt and then maybe start — I wasn’t sure why he did that to be honest. It kind of took the shine off him, how it went.
“But look, I wish him well,” he continued. “I know Eddie Hearn’s talking to him.”
Ngannou never had the leverage McGregor had, and that led him to a skint couple of years with UFC leading up to his five-year contract expiration. “The Predator” complained about only being given one fight a year through 2020 and 2021, and the one-sided contract language that allowed the promotion to mistreat him after he refused to sign a new deal.
Things were so bad between Ngannou and UFC that Francis often used words like “sabotage” to describe their relationship. McGregor is fortunate that things never got that bad between himself and the promotion. But, there’s only one Conor McGregor, and when it comes to UFC deals and treatment, that’s by design.