His loss to Nate Diaz at UFC 196 must have given first-class provocateur Conor McGregor food for thought: he's not headed back to the silver screen any time soon, after all. McGregor had been slated to join Vin Diesel in the chrome-domed growler's next installment in the xXx franchise, but he's reportedly bowing out to direct all his considerable fiery energy on fighting.
ESPN's Brett Okamoto was one of the first to make note of McGregor's change of heart.
Ryan Harkness at Uproxx points out, it would "be one thing if the UFC superstar was ditching some B-level project no one would see, but this was a B-level project that was bound to be pretty damn popular."
Fair or not, McGregor's decision brings to mind another UFC champ who had a pretty shocking surprise loss in 2015, Ronda Rousey.
While we anticipated Rousey's comeback might be a done deal after Miesha Tate took out Rousey nemesis Holly Holm, Rousey—as Uproxx's Harkness noted—hasn't really shown much interest in UFC since her loss to Holm. The Rowdy one been much more about embracing her celebrity status, with an (admittedly damned charming) appearance on SNL and her striking Sports Illustrated body paint shoot.
We don't know, though—we suspect it's a bad idea to ever count Rousey out for any reason. As bad an idea as it is to assume Conor McGregor isn't playing a long game. It's one thing for the Irishman to duck out of a film that's focused on the title character, but who's to say someone hasn't already approached McGregor for something bigger, as well as more lucrative?
Neither fighter is done yet.