While athletes around the world are preparing to make a massive comeback post-pandemic, Irish MMA star Conor McGregor posted a surprise statement announcing his retirement aged just 31. Known as "The Notorious," the Irishman took to social media to bid farewell to his fans.

In a somewhat casual statement, McGregor took to twitter and said, "Hey guys I've decided to retire from fighting. Thank you all for the amazing memories! What a ride it's been!," he said. The two division UFC World Champion and two division Cage Warriors World Champion did not elaborate on the reasons behind his decision.

However, he made it clear that his family figures prominently in his plans for the future. In fact, his post included a poignant photo with his mum, which was taken during one of the early milestones in his career as an MMA fighter. "Here is a picture of myself and my mother in Las Vegas post one of my World title wins!," he said. That statement was followed by a bold declaration to give his mother, Margaret, whatever her heart desires. "Pick the home of your dreams Mags I love you! Whatever you desire it's yours," he said.

If McGregor keeps his promise, he can well afford to buy Mags more than just a luxury home. The MMA legend appeared in this year's Forbes list of Highest Paid Athletes in the world. He took 16th place after bagging US$48 million (GBP37.9m) in earnings last year alone.

While the shock retirement had fans buzzing, some remain sceptical. After all, this is already the third time that he has announced his retirement. Back in April 2016, he also used Twitter to announce his retirement by saying simply, "Thanks for the cheese."

He has since returned to the octagon and declared another retirement after losing to Khabib Nurmagomedov back in October 2018. Fans remain hopeful that McGregor will fight again. However, the current situation with the coronavirus pandemic will make it difficult.

With many sports holding closed-door matches and many venues looking at restricting audience capacity in the foreseeable future, it will be difficult to organise a fight that can pay for McGregor's hefty price tag.

It remains to be seen if we have indeed seen the last of The Notorious.

Conor McGregor