Conor McGregor's most recent retirement announcement is making many people - including Khabib Nurmagomedov's manager Ali Abdelaziz - roll their eyes.
As part of his announcement, McGregor claimed that there was a lack of big name opponents to fight. He also cited a lack of opponents and a general lack of excitement for the MMA game.
But Abdelaziz isn't buying what the former two-division UFC champion is selling. Speaking to TMZ, Abdelaziz said that the lack of fights is "punishment for his bad behavior." He believes that McGregor's most recent retirement is just a ploy to get the UFC to put him into another title fight against Khabib without fighting his way through the lightweight division first.
"Right now, he's on punishment for his bad behavior," Abdelaziz said. "Right now, he needs to sit down. Go fight Tony Ferguson, stay busy, stay active. Go fight Jorge Masvidal. Stay active, I want to see activity. Remember, he used to say that to all of us, guess what? Payback is a (expletive)."
McGregor won the lightweight title from Eddie Alvarez in 2016, but was later stripped of the title due to inactivity. It remains his only win in the lightweight division.
Khabib and McGregor fought for the lightweight title at UFC 229 back in 2018, but McGregor lost by submission in the fourth round.
But as fun as it may be for Khabib to keep doing victory laps, McGregor's retirement leaves the UFC lightweight champion in an awkward position financially. Few if any potential fights are likely to generate the number of pay-per-view buys - or money - as McGregor would.
As uncomfortable as it might be to give McGregor another shot, a sequel to their 2018 bout might be his best shot at another big payday.