Conor McGregor is undoubtedly the biggest star under the UFC banner. That said, the promotion is ready to keep moving forward with or without the "Notorious" one.
Those were the words offered by UFC President Dana White when asked about McGregor's future during an interview on Fox Sports' "Undisputed" (h/t Jesse Holland). White doubled down on the claim 2017 was the biggest year in the promotion's history, and building new stars when established stars exit the sport is just part of the business.
“If Conor McGregor fights next year, that’ll be awesome," White said. "If Conor McGregor doesn’t fight, the UFC is going to go on. I’ve been hearing this since 2003. ‘What are you going to do when Chuck Liddell’s gone? What are you going to do when Georges St-Pierre leaves? You’re in big trouble when Anderson Silva’s gone!' The list goes on and on. Ronda Rousey. Last year was the best in the company’s history. So we’re going to keep finding new talent and putting on the best fights in the world. That’s what we’re going to continue to do, with or without anybody.”
McGregor did not step foot inside the Octagon in 2017, as his only showing under the lights came in a highly publicized super fight with boxing great Floyd Mayweather on Aug. 26. The Irishman was defeated in the 10th round of the contest but managed to pull down one of the biggest paydays in the history of combat sports.
And while McGregor has suggested he'll return to the UFC to defend his lightweight title, there has yet to be any definitive movement in his camp toward an actual fight.