With one tweet, Conor McGregor has shaken up the mixed martial arts world.
On Tuesday, the UFC star – and reigning Featherweight Champion – abruptly announced that he was stepping away from the sport, a stunning announcement that, if true, not only throws his scheduled rematch with Nate Diaz at UFC 200 out the window, but leaves the promotion scrambling for a top draw to replace the brash Irish brawler.
“I have decided to retire young. Thanks for the cheese. Catch ya’s later,” McGregor wrote on Twitter.
I have decided to retire young.
Thanks for the cheese.
Catch ya’s later.
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) April 19, 2016
There’s been no further word from the fighter since, and a spokesperson for UFC did not respond to Rolling Stone‘s request for comment on the matter. In the aftermath, Diaz, who handed McGregor his first UFC loss last month, took the opportunity to throw a jab at the man he’ll meet inside the Octagon on July 9:
I guess my work here is done I’m retiring too
— Nathan Diaz (@NateDiaz209) April 19, 2016
While we await actual confirmation about his status, some are suggesting that McGregor’s announcement may just be a ploy to steal the spotlight away from the returning Jon Jones, who will fight Oliver Saint Preux for the interim Light Heavyweight title on Saturday at UFC 197.
This also isn’t the first time McGregor has talked about retiring from the Octagon; in February, he said his plan was “to win every belt [then] walk away from this game. I’ll set it ablaze and walk away.” So is his tweet the first spark? No one seems to know for sure, but where there’s smoke, there’s definitely fire.