STOCKHOLM (REUTERS, AFP) - Former two-weight UFC champion Conor McGregor has announced on Twitter on Sunday (June 7) that he is retiring from the sport for the third time.
"Hey guys I've decided to retire from fighting. Thank you all for the amazing memories! What a ride it's been!" the Irishman said on his verified account, adding a picture of him and his mother Margaret and promising to buy her a dream home.
The former Ultimate Fighting Championship featherweight and lightweight champ first quit the sport in April 2016 with his now-famous tweet: "I have decided to retire young. Thanks for the cheese. Catch ya's later."
In March 2019, he again announced that he was hanging up his gloves after being battered into submission by arch-rival Khabib Nurmagomedov in October 2018. But on both occasions the retirements were short-lived.
His last appearance in the octagon was in January after a 15 month-absence when he knocked out American Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone in a ruthless 40-second destruction in Las Vegas.
The 31-year-old, an icon of the UFC, is no stranger to controversy and hit the headlines last year for an attack on an older man in a Dublin bar that was captured in a viral video.
McGregor, one of the most popular fighters in mixed martial arts (MMA) history, has a record of 22-4 and was the first UFC fighter to hold two championship belts at the same time. He achieved that feat in 2016 when he stopped Eddie Alvarez in a lightweight title fight, adding it to his featherweight title.
That triumph was followed by a loss to boxing great Floyd Mayweather in a cross-combat superfight in 2017, his loss to Nurmagomedov, announcements of retirements and returns to fighting.
UFC president Dana White paid tribute to McGregor after the conclusion of UFC 250 in Las Vegas early on Sunday morning.
"If Conor McGregor feels he wants to retire, you know my feelings about retirement, you should absolutely do it," White said at the post-event press conference.
"I love Conor. There's a handful of people that have made this really fun for me, and he's one of them."
At the UFC 250 event on Saturday, featherweight champion Amanda Nunes dominated Felicia Spencer and scored a comprehensive decision victory in retaining her crown, becoming the first two-weight UFC champ to successfully defend both belts.
The Canadian challenger went the distance but was completely outclassed, as the Brazilian won every one of the five rounds on the judges' scorecards.
"I studied her very well, I know she's tough and I have to be sharp if I have to go five rounds, I have to be dominating," a beaming Nunes told commentator Joe Rogan after the fight.
"That was my goal, defending my two belts at the same time. I defended both belts, you know, I'm the greatest! I'm so happy right now!" she added.
The problem for Nunes and the UFC now is that there is no challenger on the horizon who looks capable of threatening her. The 32-year-old has not lost since being knocked out by Cat Zingano in September 2014.
"I don't know what is next, but I've proved (myself) already. Tonight I closed a cycle, and I'm proud of myself and my team," she said.