Yet he lasted longer and fought more competitively against Floyd Mayweather than just about anyone expected.
McGregor was gracious and analytical afterward, but he was bothered by one aspect of his defeat – referee Robert Byrd’s seemingly wise decision to stop the bout while McGregor was still on his wobbly legs.
“Let the man put me down,” the Irishman said.
Even though he didn’t get his wish to taste the canvas, McGregor left the Vegas ring with his honour intact and he can go just about anywhere he wants from here.
“I’ll see what’s next, but I’m open,” McGregor said.
“I love a good fight, and tonight was a damn good fight.
“I can’t tell you exactly what’s next, but something will be next.”
After hanging in there against Mayweather, McGregor is in an unprecedented position as a huge draw in two combat sports.
McGregor will make no decisions before his upcoming yachting holiday in Ibiza, but he certainly doesn’t seem eager to limit himself to one sport.
“I believe I’ll do it again,” McGregor said of boxing, before immediately adding: “I’m looking forward to kicking something again.
“I’m also looking forward to grappling. I’m looking forward to getting back in and having a good, solid knock again.”
The UFC wants its biggest star back in the octagon quickly.
Yet the UFC also just made untold millions from McGregor’s dalliance with boxing.
UFC president Dana White realises McGregor will be impressed by boxing money and says he is willing to write a cheque that will keep McGregor in the cage.
“I would rather he did not (box again),” White said.
“This is not what he does. He is a mixed martial artist.”
A trilogy fight with Nate Diaz is an obvious choice for McGregor’s next UFC fight after their two crowd-pleasing brawls in 2016, but it would more likely be at the lightweight limit of 155 pounds, not the 170-pound welterweight mark at which they fought the first two times last year.
Other possible UFC opponents include the winner of the interim lightweight title fight between Tony Ferguson and Kevin Lee in October.
McGregor also has said he would like to fight No.1 lightweight contender Khabib Nurmagomedov in a major UFC event in Russia.
If it’s boxing again, a fight with his retired sparring partner Paulie Malignaggi seems logical.
No matter what he decides, McGregor has established himself as a major sports icon and he intends to cash in on that success.
“I’m young, I’m fit and I’m fresh,” McGregor said.
“I’ll continue to get better, and I’ll continue to make adjustments that I learned from this fight to make myself a better fighter.
“I always have, and I always will.”
Make your contribution to independent news
A donation of any size to InDaily goes directly to helping our journalists uncover the facts. South Australia needs more than one voice to guide it forward, and we’d truly appreciate your contribution. Please click below to donate to InDaily.