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Conor McGregor drops out of richest athletes list after being No.1 last year

By Martin Domin

Conor McGregor has slipped out of the top 10 highest-paid athletes, 12 months after topping the charts.

McGregor has not fought since he was beaten by Dustin Poirier in their trilogy fight last summer. He plans to return to the UFC later this year but his recovery from injury is currently behind schedule.

And his earnings have taken a hit due to his absence with Paris Saint-Germain star Lionel Messi ($130million) leading the way in Forbes' annual study. NBA star LeBron James ($121.2m) ranked second while Manchester United legend Cristiano Ronaldo ($115m) rounds out the top three.

Canelo Alvarez is the only fighter to make the top 10 at No.8 having made $80million in the last year. There was no place for Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua despite being involved in huge heavyweight showdowns.

The rest of the top 10 includes Neymar ($95m), Stephen Curry ($92.8m), Kevin Durrant ($92.1m), Roger Federer ($90.7m), Tom Brady ($83.9m) and Giannis Antetokounmpo ($80.9m). Last year, McGregor topped the list with earnings of $180m.

“It’s been a long time coming, and I’ve been waiting on the call, to be honest,” McGregor said last year. "I’m glad I pipped Ronaldo this year." Much of the Irishman's earnings came from his exploits outside the cage, including the sale of his Proper 12 whiskey brand.

But McGregor may now spend 18 months on the sidelines after breaking his leg. Former UFC heavyweight Brendan Schaub and former middleweight champion Michael Bisping both believe the Dubliner will set out the rest of 2022.

Who should Conor McGregor fight on his return to the UFC? Let us know in the comments section below

McGregor was called out by both Charles Oliveira and Michael Chandler at UFC 274 last weekend but neither fight looks feasible in the short term. McGregor has set his sights on returning at welterweight against champion Kamaru Usman.

The Nigerian is due to defend his belt against Birmingham's Leon Edwards but admitted this week that his own recovery from injury has suffered a setback. He will not feature at UFC 276 on July 2 and could now be forced to wait until the autumn to put his title on the line.

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