New Delhi, Jan 18 (IANS) Conor McGregor makes his much awaited return to the octagon with his big match-up against Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone on Sunday. Apart from being his first bout overall in the UFC since the loss to Russian Khabib Nurmagomedov on October 6, 2018, it also marks the Irish star’s return to the welterweight division.
A feature to the buildup of any fight involving McGregor is the 31-year-old’s propensity to get under his opponent’s skin with his words. This however backfired in his last bout when Nurmagomedov beat him by submission and took out his anger on McGregor’s team which led to a free-for-all at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The bout’s infamy was enhanced by the fact that it broke multiple records for viewership and stadium attendance.
The buildup to this fight however has seen a far more respectful McGregor and the exchange between the two during the pre-fight press conference and weigh-in was good natured.
“You know, I can read Donald, I like him a lot, he’s a good guy but I can read Donald like a children’s book to be honest,” McGregor said.
“He’s a good fighter, he’s got some good tricks up his sleeve, I know the tricks he has, and I know what he’s planning and what he hopes to achieve but we are well prepared and we’ll see on the night, it’s going to be a good night.”
McGregor is known for his knockouts, famously winning the featherweight championship belt with a KO on UFC legend Jose Aldo in 13 seconds. “No one’s work is clean like my work. My shots are clean. My shots are precise. I know when I smack you, you’re going down and that’s it,” he said.
McGregor has been vocal in wanting to face Nurmagomedov again, even if it is in Moscow. Nurmagomedov is scheduled to face Tony Ferguson in a fight that has been scheduled and called off a number of times in the past, largely due to Ferguson getting injured before the bout. UFC chief Dana While said that McGregor will be considered as a replacement for Ferguson in April if the latter is unable to turn up but the Irishman himself said that he would like to face both the fighters.
“I think regardless of the result, I should probably face both of these men. I would like to face both of these men. I would like to face Tony Ferguson. He is one of the highest paid non-champions in the game. There’s history with Tony. Of course, the rematch (with Nurmagomedov). I am pushing for the Moscow bout. I would love to do that. Both men are certainly in my cross-hairs,” he said.
McGregor also said that he is eyeing more fights in the welterweight division, including champion Kamaru Usman and Jorge Masvidal, who holds the purpose-built “BMF” title after he beat Nate Diaz last year.
“I’m not going to 170 just for Jorge Masvidal. I wasn’t really that happy with how that (BMF) thing ended. I think it’s unfinished, in my opinion. I liked that welterweight title fight…I liked the look of that. I like the look of Kamaru Usman. I like the look of Colby. I’m open to it all at 170. I’m happy to come back and have the comeback fight of my season against Donald and I look forward to it,” said McGregor.
UFC 246 will be aired live on Sony Ten 2 and Sony Ten 3 (Hindi) channels from 8.30 a.m. on January 19.