It took Conor McGregor only 40 seconds to prove to the world he is back to his old form and still the best fighter in mixed martial arts. After a flurry of punches and a kick to the head, Cerrone was in trouble, and that saw referee Herb Dean called an end to the fight.
Conor McGregor took mere seconds to make his presence felt known to Donald Cerrone as he fired out a wild missed punch and followed that with elbow and shoulder shots that broke Cerrone’s nose in the opening seconds of the fought. Unrelenting, McGregor then took Cerrone to the floor 20 seconds a brilliantly placed kick to the head into the opening round and that is exactly where he stayed before Herb Dean stopped the fight.
Saturday night’s victory was McGregor’s his first mixed martial arts win since 2016, and he immediately took to the ring showing off the Irish flag draped across his shoulders, and in doing so, let the MMA world he is back and back in the style so many fear.
After going nearly three years without much activity, Connor McGregor, who is a former two-division champion has overcome his battles outside of the ring with a performance few can argue was one of the greatest performances in the Irishman’s career. Commenting after the fight, McGregor stated,
“I feel really good, and I came out of here unscathed, I’m in shape. We’ve got work to do to get back to where I was.”
After doing damage to Cerrone with his opening punch, McGregor fired off a brutal kick to the jaw and then pounced all over Cerrone as he went down to the mat at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Having his hand raised in victor hasn’t been something McGregor experienced since his win over Eddie Alvarez in November of 2016. That win was historic for the Irish fighter as it made him the first in the history of the UFC to hold multiple belts at the same time. As his fame grew, McGregor chose to focus and prepare for a 2017 fight against Floyd Mayweather, one that he lost and a loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov in 2018 has people questioning his commitment to MMA. Speaking on that time post-fight on Saturday night, McGregor said,
“I wasn’t committed. I just felt like I disrespected the people that believed in me and supported me. That’s what led me to re-centre myself and get back to where I was at.”
McGregor chose to take a year long hiatus from competition, and after several issues with the law, he returned to training and swore he would return to his previous form. The victory over Cerrone was the proof needed, and with it, McGregor has stated he wants to enter the ring multiple times in 2020.
Fellow MMA fighters Jorge Masvidal, and Kamaru Usman were in the audience to watch the event, and either of the two could be McGregor’s next opponent. Currently, Dana White, the president of the UFC, is pushing to see the Irishman enter the cage for a rematch with Nurmagomedov, who is next due to fight in April against Tony Ferguson. McGregor made no bones about his intention while speaking in the microphone after the fight stating,
“Any one of these mouthy fools can get it. Every single one of them can get it. It does not matter. I’m back and I’m ready.”
Connor McGregor is also hoping to get the change for a rematch with Nurmagomedov and is hoping that happens before the latter part of the summer when Nurmagomedov will be ready. The hope is for an earlier fight and McGregor is predicting that the UFC will put the Nurmagomedov-Ferguson fight on hold to make it happen.
The loss to McGregor was a tough one to swallow for Cerrone, who in the history of the UFC, has compiled the most wins. However, the loss brings into question Cerrone’s hectic schedule after fighting almost a dozen times since late 2016. It is clear the toll is having an impact on his ability to remain a threat with his previous two fights both being stopped, and of course, last nights against McGregor. Speaking on the punishment McGregor delivered, Cerrone said,
“I’d never seen anything like that. He busted my nose, it started bleeding, and he stepped back and head-kicked me. Oh, man. This happened this fast?”
While there are many who feel that McGregor will not be able to return to his previous near unstoppable form, he showed them he might do just that. During a five year run, the Irishman won a staggering fifteen fights to his rise in the UFC and that included five top-ranked opponents who were stopped with McGregor’s blistering punching style.
The good side to the night’s end was McGregor quickly returning to Cerrone’s side to check on the disoriented fighter. McGregor’s return was highly anticipated and saw the Pay-Per-View event selling out the T-Mobile arena let alone the revenue generated via its pay-per-view sales. The excitement of the night was also not lost on Hollywood as stars such as Dave Bautista, Jeremy Renner and Matthew McConaughey were in attendance, as was NFL’ers Jon Gruden, Myles Garrett, Baker Mayfield, Christian McCaffrey and Tom Brady.The night was not lost on Dana White, who spoke about McGregor after the main event stating,
“This guy is such a huge superstar. I put him up there with (Mike) Tyson, (Sugar Ray) Leonard, all of them. He’s got the biggest pay-per-view in history, and how many of the top 10 does he have? I don’t know. Coming up in his career, he’s been doubted for his talent, and he proves them wrong every time.”
Next up for the UFC, and of special interest to punters interested in betting action with the likes of Bet365, will see Curtis Blaydes taking on Junior Dos Santos at 8 pm on Saturday, February 20th. Also joining the main card is Rafael Dos Santos entering the cage for a welterweight bout against Michael Chisa at the PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina.