McGregor, fighting for the first time in 15 months at UFC 246 at the T-Mobile Arena, bloodied Cerrone’s nose in the opening few seconds of their welterweight bout with a couple of unorthodox shoulder strikes. McGregor then stepped back and a head kick high over the guard landed square on the jaw of Cerrone, who fell to the floor and was left covering up as the Irishman rained down punches, prompting an early stoppage.
“I made history here, I set another record: I’m the first fighter in UFC history to secure knockout victories at featherweight, at lightweight and now at welterweight, so I’m very, very proud of that,” McGregor said in the octagon. Donald holds the record for most head-kick knockouts, I’m so happy to get him down with a head kick myself. I’m very, very happy, very proud. Who’s going up and down divisions and stopping people like that? The UFC can strip fighters and gift other fighters make-believe belts in order to replicate my champ-champ status, but they can’t give knockout victories across multiple weight divisions. Etch my name in history one more time.”
After such an explosive performance McGregor has already been linked with a return to the ring and another attempt at boxing.
Our man Steve Bunce thinks that would be a short-sighted decision.
Still coming to terms with what you saw?
Re-live McGregor’s brilliant performance with our selection of the best photographs from a memorable night in Las Vegas.
It’s understood that McGregor will collect a minimum $5m (£3.8m) from the 11th UFC fight of his career, regardless of whether he wins or loses.
But the former featherweight and lightweight champion claims he will make significantly more than that through the additional endorsements and bonuses that will come his way, with the 31-year-old insisting that he stands to receive his most lucrative fight purse yet.
McGregor made $3m (£2.3m) from his bouts against Khabib Nurmagomedov and Eddie Alvarez, though the UFC’s prize money has increased since those bouts and the attention surrounding his return is expected to bring with it a Pay Per View (PPV) hike.
Speaking in the build-up to the Las Vegas bout, McGregor revealed that he believes his total income from the fight will be in excess of £60m.
Floyd Mayweather hinted at a possible rematch against Conor McGregor in the immediate aftermath of the Irishman’s explosive return to the octagon at UFC 246.
It was at the same Las Vegas venue where McGregor crossed over to the boxing world for a showdown against pound-for-pound king Mayweather, who extended his perfect professional record to 50-0 with a late stoppage over the Dubliner in 2017.
Mayweather has not fought since then but said in November last year he was “coming out of retirement in 2020” and has teased the prospect of a return meeting against McGregor with a mock poster of the two combatants on Instagram.
The 42-year-old then put up another poster on the social network hinting at a contest against McGregor’s fierce rival Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Dana White says a rematch between McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov is “the fight to make” after the Irishman’s winning return to the Octagon.
The former two-weight UFC champion had been out of action since losing to Khabib in infamous fashion at the same venue in October 2018, while this was his first win inside the octagon in more than three years.
White is excited to have McGregor back and believes a rematch between the two rivals is doable, despite the bad blood.
McGregor has revealed the one piece of mid-fight advice he received from long-term coach John Kavanagh that helped him to beat Cerrone at UFC 246 on Saturday night.
McGregor was making an eagerly anticipated comeback after 15 months away and did not disappoint, needing only 40 seconds to stop the American veteran Cerrone at the T-Mobile Arena.
The Irishman made a sensational start to the bout: charging at his opponent before bloodying his nose with several unorthodox shoulder strikes in the clinch.
McGregor then stepped back and a precision head kick high over the guard landed square on the jaw of Cerrone, who was also caught by a flying knee and crumpled to the mat as the Dubliner went for an early finish.
However, McGregor initially failed to land many strikes after pouncing upon his fallen opponent and, after the fight, the former two-weight world champion revealed that his coach had shouted some advice out to him mid-fight.
Conor McGregor is ready to fight ”any one of these little mouthy fools” next after roaring back to life in the UFC with his 40-second knockout win over Donald Cerrone in Las Vegas on Saturday night.
“Any one of these little mouthy fools can get it. It does not matter. I’m back and I’m ready,” he said.
“I like this weight division, I feel really good, it’s good going up and down. God willing I came out of here unscathed.”
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Even Jose Aldo landed a punch on Conor in their 13-second bout in 2015.
Cerrone didn’t come close to touching Conor tonight.
McGregor says he’ll be back before summer and that he’s not sure if it will be at 170 lbs. He doesn’t care who the opponent is.
The manner of the win means McGregor is the first man in UFC history to earn stoppage wins at featherweight, lightweight and welterweight.
McGregor to Ariel Helwani: “We are all equal. I was committed this camp and I earned it.
“Fighting is an emotional game, it’s a rollercoaster of emotions.”
*Uncle Chael, apologies
Former British UFC champion Michael Bisping is full of praise for McGregor’s performance, as is former title challenger Chael Sonnen.
If McGregor is going to produce performances like that, we can only hope that his aim of activity in 2020 is achieved.
One of McGregor’s biggest fans:
Where does that rank among McGregor’s best performances ever? He steamrolled Cerrone. But the dismantling of Eddie Alvarez in the pair’s lightweight title fight may still eclipse tonight’s effort. That’s not to mention the 13-second starching of Jose Aldo.
What about welterweight champion Kamaru Usman, down the line?
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