LAS VEGAS — Conor McGregor’s opening punch bloodied Donald Cerrone’s nostril. He then floored Cerrone simplest 20 seconds into the bout with a perfectly placed kick to the pinnacle, and he mercilessly completed on the ground.
When he paraded around the ring with an Irish flag on his shoulders to like an supreme time, the blended martial arts world knew McGregor is abet with a substantial bang.
The Irish mature two-division champion came out of a 3-365 days stretch of relative snort of being inactive and outside-the-cage troubles with a welterweight performance in UFC 246 on Saturday night time that echoed his perfect fights at some stage in his unparalleled upward push.
“I feel in point of fact appropriate, and I came out of here unscathed,” McGregor said. “I’m in shape. We’ve purchased work to aid out to get abet to where I used to be.”
After hurting Cerrone (36-14) along with his first punch, McGregor (22-4) dropped him with a polished kick to the jaw. McGregor pounced and compelled referee Herb Dean to place Cerrone, delighting a sellout crowd of 19,040 at T-Mobile Enviornment.
McGregor’s hand hadn’t been raised in victory since November 2016, when he stopped lightweight Eddie Alvarez to develop into the first fighter in UFC history to aid two championship belts concurrently. With his popularity and fortune multiplying, McGregor fought simplest his boxing match with Floyd Mayweather in 2017, and he lost a one-sided UFC bout to lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov in unhurried 2018.
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“I wasn’t committed,” McGregor said afterward whereas talking to newshounds with a bottle of his Appropriate Twelve whiskey on the desk earlier than him. “I appropriate felt fancy I disrespected the of us that believed in me and supported me. That’s what led me to re-center myself and get abet to where I used to be at.”
After a 365 days spent out of opponents and in repeated misfortune with the law, McGregor purchased abet into coaching and vowed to come to elite assemble. This dramatic victory over Cerrone indicated he’s smartly on his methodology, and McGregor has vowed to fight plenty of times in 2020.
Welterweight champion Kamaru Usman and prone brawler Jorge Masvidal watched UFC 246 from cageside. Both man could per chance very smartly be McGregor’s subsequent opponent, however UFC President Dana White is pushing for a rematch with Nurmagomedov, who first fights Tony Ferguson in April.
“Any the form of mouthy fools can get it,” McGregor yelled into the microphone. “Every single one of them can get it. It does no longer topic. I’m abet and I’m ready.”
McGregor moreover needs to dangle up for his loss to Nurmagomedov, however he doesn’t want to wait till the champion is ready to fight again in unhurried summer. McGregor needs an earlier fight, and he predicted that the Nurmagomedov-Ferguson fight will be scrapped, as it already has four times at some stage in these fighters’ careers.
Cerrone is the winningest fighter in UFC history with 23 victories, a designate that displays every his durability and commitment to an uncommonly busy agenda. Cerrone, who moreover holds the UFC account with 16 stoppage wins, had fought a whopping 11 times since McGregor’s identify over Alvarez, and he used to be in the cage for the 15th time since he lost his simplest UFC title shot in December 2015.
Nevertheless Cerrone’s final two fights had been stopped when he took too primary hurt, and he couldn’t block McGregor’s decisive kick or get better from the punishment on the ground.
“I’d never seen something fancy that,” Cerrone said. “He busted my nostril, it began bleeding, and he stepped abet and head-kicked me. Oh, man. This took region this rapidly?”
Despite the proven truth that many observers like scoffed, the 31-365 days-worn McGregor believes he can reclaim the fearsome assemble he showed at some stage in his meteoric upward push to unheard of MMA success. He won 15 consecutive fights at some stage in a five-365 days trip from low-profile shows in Dublin to the enviornment’s biggest MMA events, stopping five straight elite UFC opponents with punches on the methodology up.
After his most stylish victory ended, McGregor peeled away temporarily to like an supreme time, however rapidly returned to consolation the disoriented Cerrone. When Cerrone’s grandmother, Jerry, entered the cage after the fight to hug her grandson, McGregor moreover hugged Jerry and acquired a kiss on the cheek.
Even after his prolonged absence — and even ensuing from of it — McGregor’s return used to be a substantial seller on pay-per-mediate about, in response to White. The UFC said it made greater than $11 million in stamp sales at T-Mobile Enviornment for the fourth-biggest gate total in the promotion’s history.
“This guy is the form of substantial huge name,” White said. “I effect him up there with (Mike) Tyson, (Sugar Ray) Leonard, all of them. He’s purchased the largest pay-per-mediate about in history, and how a model of the discontinue 10 does he like? I don’t know. Coming up in his career, he’s been doubted for his ability, and he proves them corrupt every time.”
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