UFC president Dana White has compared Conor McGregor to boxing greats Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson and Sugar Ray Leonard after the Irishman made his return to the Octagon.

McGregor needed just 40 seconds to defeat Donald 'Cowboy' Cerrone in Las Vegas on Saturday, as the 31-year-old marked his comeback after 15 months away from the Octagon in style.

And White believes McGregor has now reached the same level as stardom as icons such as Ali, Tyson and Leonard.

"[Conor] is such a huge superstar. I put him up there with Tyson, Leonard," White told a media conference.

"All of them," he added when asked if McGregor could be compared to Ali, considered to be the greatest fighter in boxing history.

"He's got the biggest pay-per-view in pay-per-view history. How many of the top 10 does he have? I don't even know. He's one of the biggest stars out there.

"A lot of the times coming in his career he's been doubted for his talent and he proves everybody wrong every time."

White was also asked how much McGregor was worth to UFC, with a figure of $2billion suggested by a reporter.

"Two billion dollars? Sounds like a good number, I'll take that," White joked. "I don't know what he's worth to the company but it's big.

"You couldn't go anywhere without seeing this fight and knowing that this fight was on. All the people came out and watched the fight.

"This is one of those fights that people who normally don't buy [do] buy, right? So, the number is always massive.

"Then Conor comes out and does what he did tonight. You can't put a number on that. It's massive and it's global. The whole world was watching tonight."

McGregor's previous fight came in October 2018, when he was defeated by Khabib Nurmagomedov.

In his own post-fight news conference, McGregor outlined his intention to go up against the Russian once more, and White is eager to make a rematch happen.

"We're at a place right now where Conor was saying that, going into the Khabib fight, he had lots of personal stuff," said White.

"Some stuff [was] self-inflicted. He had injuries. He had all these things going on. He has been obsessed with getting that rematch because he knows that he wasn't 100 per cent right.

"We're looking at like Ali-Foreman, Ali-Frazier. This is a massive fight with global appeal. It's the fight you make, it's the fight that makes sense. It's for the 155-pound title.

"It's huge for Khabib’s legacy, too. If he beat McGregor, then he beats Tony Ferguson, then he beats McGregor again, I mean, this is how this kid, when he retires, he's 30-something and, oh, he's beaten all of the best."

If you blinked there is every chance you may have missed Conor McGregor's clinical and devastating return at UFC 246.

The Irishman only needed 40 seconds to defeat MMA legend Donald Cerrone in Las Vegas on Saturday in what was his first bout in the Octagon for 15 months.

Many had predicted a McGregor victory, just maybe not the swift nature of it, and more difficult challenges lie in wait for the 31-year-old.

So just who is next for McGregor? We take a look at six possibilities.

 

JORGE MASVIDAL

A man, like McGregor, whose verbal skills match his technical ability. After a stellar 2019, which brought victories over Darren Till, Ben Askren and Nate Diaz, Jorge Masvidal has frequently tried to catch McGregor's attention, even going as far as to wear the same Versace robe the Irishman donned for his 2017 fight against Floyd Mayweather Jr when in attendance for the Cerrone bout. While 'the Notorious' laughed off that attempt to get under his skin, he once again conceded the prospect of facing Masvidal for the UFC's BMF belt is an interesting one.

NATE DIAZ

It seems unlikely a trilogy fight between McGregor and Nate Diaz will take place in the immediate future but who knows in the MMA game? Their first two encounters in 2016, which were split at one apiece, were among the most lucrative in UFC history. After McGregor's victory over Cerrone, Diaz took to Twitter to call out the event as "fake", prompting a reply from his long-time foe at a post-victory news conference in which he said: "Let's go brother, number three. It's always here, so we are right here Nathan."

KAMARU USMAN

McGregor made history in 2016 by becoming the first fighter in UFC history to hold belts in two divisions at the same time. After successfully stepping up to 170lbs to defeat Cerrone, the chance to hold a third strap at welterweight is sure to be of interest. The man currently in possession of the prize is Kamaru Usman. McGregor called out the Nigerian-American after his victory over Colby Covington last month and Usman has been unsurprisingly open to the idea. An intriguing sub-plot prior to the Cerrone fight was a series of unsavoury Tweets posted from Usman's account aimed at McGregor, though he later insisted he was hacked. 

KHABIB NURMAGOMEDOV 

There was bad blood in and out of the Octagon when McGregor and unbeaten lightweight king Khabib Nurmagomedov first waged war in October 2018. On that occasion, Khabib submitted McGregor before an all-out melee marred the win. McGregor has clamoured for another opportunity, while UFC president Dana White said of the possibility: "It's the fight you make, it's the fight that makes sense." Certainly, there would be plenty of eager eyes on this one.

MANNY PACQUIAO

In the immediate future, it looks as though McGregor still has goals in UFC he wants to accomplish. But prior to beating Cerrone, he made no secret of a desire to win a boxing world title and revealed talks were ongoing to face Filipino great Manny Pacquiao. Even at the ripe old age of 41, Pacquiao remains as active as ever and defeated Keith Thurman via a split decision to win the WBA Super welterweight champion last July. 

FLOYD MAYWEATHER JR

It was one of the most lucrative fights in history when these two first danced together in a Las Vegas super fight in August 2017. McGregor vowed to avenge his defeat to 'Money' if a rematch were to happen, and Mayweather teased the possibility on Instagram when he mocked up a poster that read "Mayweather McGregor 2, 2020". Addressing that after the fight, McGregor said "that rematch will happen at some stage". Perhaps this one really is a matter of when, not if. 

Conor McGregor revealed he lost his motivation for UFC after achieving a rapid rise to prominence in mixed martial arts, but he says he has now rediscovered his love for the octagon.

McGregor returned after a 15-month absence on Saturday, claiming a rapid first-round victory over Donald 'Cowboy' Cerrone in Las Vegas, which took just 40 seconds.

The 31-year-old had not fought since losing to Khabib Nurmagomedov in 2018, while the Irishman had also ventured into boxing when he faced Floyd Mayweather Jr in 2017.

His time away from mixed martial arts started with a six-month ban imposed after a post-fight brawl outside the cage following his showdown with Khabib.

McGregor was then arrested and charged with strong-armed robbery and criminal mischief in March 2019 after it was alleged he took a man's phone and smashed it on the ground in Miami – the charges were later dropped. In November last year, he was fined €1,000 after pleading guilty to an assault of a man at a pub in Dublin.

However, McGregor insists he is now fully focused on his mixed martial arts career, after acknowledging that he let the people who supported him down.

"I achieved it all. I broke the game before I was 30 years of age, simple as," McGregor told a news conference. "One belt became not enough.

"My coach says it’s the worst nightmare for a coach if his student achieves it all – the money, the fame, the belts, all of this. What then to motivate me?

"I probably had to go through that and then come back to it for the love of it, which is why I got into it in the first place. Everything's a learning curve, you learn what's right and wrong.

"I wasn't committed and it was a disrespect of the people that believed in me. People were taking the time away from their families to come and help me and I wasn't committed with it. I would train and then I'd go missing for three days and then I'd come back and it was sporadic and on my call."

McGregor is adamant the only trick to success is hard work and discipline.

"It's all about commitment and then just do what you need to do. All I did was put in the work," he added.

"We know what the work is we need to do but sometimes you just don't do it. It's like little defeats and then those add up and your interest wanes, then you can get injured and all those things.

"It's about commitment, that's it. You put in the work and you reap the rewards, there's no secret sauce to this. Recognise what you need to do, f****** do it, and you will succeed."

"Etch my name in history one more time". That was the message from Conor McGregor after returning with a devastating first-round TKO against Donald Cerrone at UFC 246.

McGregor ended his 15-month absence in stunning fashion, needing just 40 seconds to stop Cerrone in Las Vegas on Saturday.

Irish star McGregor (22-4) had not fought in the octagon since his loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229.

However, former featherweight and lightweight champion McGregor had no trouble at welterweight against veteran Cerrone as he brutally beat the American.

"I like this [welterweight] division," McGregor said in his post-fight interview. "I feel really good.

"But I came out of here unscathed. I'm in shape. We've got work to do to get back to where I was."

Asked about potential next opponent with Jorge Masvidal in the crowd, McGregor said: "Any one of these fools can get it.

"All of them. Every single one. It does not matter."

After striking Cerrone (36-14) with his shoulder, McGregor then delivered a devastating kick to the head before a flurry of punches prompted the referee to stop the welterweight bout and main event.

"I'd never seen anything like that," Cerrone said. "He busted my nose, it started bleeding, and he stepped back and head-kicked me. Oh, man. This happened this fast?"

Boxing great Floyd Mayweather Jr. seemed to announce a rematch with Conor McGregor after the Irish star's devastating return to UFC.

McGregor needed just 40 seconds to stop Donald Cerrone via a brutal TKO at UFC 246 in Las Vegas on Saturday.

Making his long-awaited comeback after a 15-month absence since his submission loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov, McGregor quickly disposed over Cerrone as he reminded the world of his skills in the octagon.

After McGregor's exploits, legendary fighter Mayweather teased a second blockbuster bout via social media.

Mayweather stopped McGregor in the 10th round when the UFC superstar made his professional boxing debut in August 2017.

In an Instagram post, Mayweather uploaded a picture titled "Mayweather McGregor 2, 2020".

The unbeaten Mayweather retired for the third time after that bout almost three years ago, but announced last November that the 42-year-old would resume his career yet again in 2020 for a "spectacular event".

Conor McGregor needed just 40 seconds to make a triumphant return to the octagon after a brutal TKO against Donald Cerrone at UFC 246.

McGregor – fighting for the first time in 15 months – was relentless in the octagon, dropping Cerrone inside the opening round in Las Vegas Saturday.

After striking Cerrone with his shoulder, McGregor then delivered a devastating kick to the head before a flurry of punches prompted the referee to stop the welterweight bout and main event.

McGregor made his long-awaited return after a 15-month absence since his submission loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov.

The Irish star's time away from mixed martial arts started with a six-month ban imposed after a post-fight brawl outside the cage marred his blockbuster showdown with Khabib at UFC 229, and there was no escape from controversy in the intervening period.

McGregor was arrested and charged with strong-armed robbery and criminal mischief last March after it was alleged he took a man's phone and smashed it on the ground in Miami – the charges were later dropped over inconsistencies in the victim's testimony. In November, he was fined €1,000 after pleading guilty to an assault of a man at a pub in Dublin.

There were question marks over McGregor, but the UFC sensation strolled into the octagon with confidence against the 36-year-old Cerrone.

McGregor – typically a fast starter – raced out of the blocks and wasted little time as he required less than a minute to celebrate victory upon his return.

Conor McGregor certainly packs a punch inside the octagon but with his quick thinking and acid tongue he also does outside of it.

The Irishman has earned hordes of fans the world over for his technical brilliance and his verbal put-downs of opponents and fellow UFC fighters.

On Saturday, McGregor returns from a 15-month UFC hiatus – having been submitted by Khabib Nurmagomedov in his previous bout – to face Donald Cerrone.

Ahead of his showdown with 'Cowboy', we take a look back at some of the best trash talk from 'The Notorious'.

 

I RUN THIS WHOLE SHIP!

Ahead of his scrap with Eddie Alvarez for the lightweight belt at UFC 205 in November 2016, McGregor had some choice words for those who felt he received preferential treatment from owner Dana White.

"I run this whole thing. I run New York. I run this whole ship. Without me none of this happens. I run this whole s***. Everyone in this game does what they're f****** told except for me and rightly f****** so. If I say you're on the prelims, you're on the f****** prelims. If I say main event, it's the f****** main event."

HIS WIFE AND KIDS WON'T RECOGNISE HIM!

Alvarez himself did not escape McGregor's ire, with the Irishman making some pretty gruesome promises.

"I'm going to toy with this man. I will rearrange his facial structure. His wife and kids won't recognise him again. His friends will know he's not the same after this contest. You're never, ever going to be the same. Your kids are going to beg, 'Daddy, please don't go again!'"

WHO THE F*** IS THAT GUY?!

When McGregor was asked prior to facing Alvarez who his biggest rival is, Jeremy Stephens called out: "Right here, the real hardest-hitting 145-pounder, right here." McGregor replied with a brutally simple six-word put-down.

"Who the f*** is that guy?!"

I'D LIKE TO APOLOGISE…TO ABSOLUTELY NOBODY!

McGregor kept his word to defeat Alvarez and become the first UFC fighter to hold belts in two divisions at the same time. His post-fight interview produced this absolute gem.

"I've ridiculed everyone on the roster, I just want to say from the bottom of my heart, I'd like to take this chance to apologise…to absolutely nobody!"

I CAN MAKE YOU RICH, I'LL CHANGE YOUR BUM LIFE!

Back in September 2015 at a 'Go Big' news conference, the Irishman launched one of his most famous tirades. Replying to comments from Rafael dos Anjos, who was promoting a fight with Cerrone, he bragged about the attention he brings to UFC.

"I can make you rich. I'll change your bum life. You fight me, it's a celebration. When you sign to fight me, it's a celebration. You ring back home, you ring your wife, 'Baby, we've done it. We're rich baby. Conor McGregor made us rich. Break out the red panties.'”

YOU'RE STIFF AS A BOARD!

At the same media event, McGregor replied to Cerrone's assertion he could not cut it at 155lbs.

"You're too slow and you're too stiff. You're stiff as a board and I'd snap you in half, and that's it. I see stiffness when I look in the 155-pound division...slow, stiff, I feel like they're stuck in the mud almost. Yee-haw!"

I COULD BUY AND SELL YOU A HUNDRED TIMES OVER

The bad blood between McGregor and Nate Diaz drew some of the most heated comments from the Irishman.

"My socks are worth more than the suit you had on, you little bum. You're a broke b****. I could buy and sell you a hundred times over."

THE KING IS BACK!

After avenging his loss to Diaz by winning the return fight at UFC 202, McGregor had a simple message for his detractors.

"Surprise, surprise, motherf******! The king is back!”

I NEED TO FEED EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU IN THE GAME

McGregor was named Fighter of the Year for 2015. He was typically…let's say gracious...with his speech when accepting the award.

"I need to feed all you bums. I need to feed every single one of you in the game so I've got to keep working. Because you bums don't work."

Conor McGregor and Donald Cerrone weighed in at the 170-pound limit ahead of their fight at UFC 246 on Saturday.

Both fighters are considered natural lightweights and questions had been asked as to whether McGregor, who is making his return to the octagon after a 15-month absence since his submission loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov, would be able to hit his mark.

However, the duo tipped the scales at 170lbs on Friday in Las Vegas.

The fight is taking place at welterweight and McGregor hopes it will be the first of three bouts for him season, with his eyes seemingly set on Jorge Masvidal and a rematch with lightweight champion Khabib.

The outspoken Irishman likely needs a positive result against Cerrone, the all-time wins leader in UFC, if he is to have a chance of making such ambitions a reality.

McGregor's time away from mixed martial arts started with a six-month ban imposed after a post-fight brawl outside the cage marred his meeting with Khabib, and there was no escape from controversy in the intervening period.

The 31-year-old was arrested and charged with strong-armed robbery and criminal mischief last March after it was alleged he took a man's phone and smashed it on the ground in Miami – the charges were later dropped over inconsistencies in the victim's testimony. In November, he was fined €1,000 after pleading guilty to an assault of a man at a pub in Dublin.

McGregor went 1-1 in his two previous fights at welterweight, losing to Nate Diaz at UFC 196 before winning the rematch at UFC 202.

Cerrone has won six of his 10 previous outings at 170lbs but lost his past two fights at lightweight.

Conor McGregor would be "honoured" to do battle with Manny Pacquiao in what he believes would be a blockbuster first fight at the Las Vegas Allegiant Stadium.

McGregor will make his UFC return against Donald Cerrone in Las Vegas on Saturday, 15 months after he was beaten by Khabib Nurmagomedov in his last bout.

The 31-year-old Irishman is also hungry to don the boxing gloves again and has called out Floyd Mayweather Jr, who he stopped in the 10th round of their fight in August 2017, for a rematch.

McGregor this week revealed talks with another legendary veteran, Pacquiao, are ongoing and would relish the chance to do battle with the 41-year-old in 60,000 capacity Nevada venue that is still being constructed. 

"It will be hard to leave the MMA game fully but I think a boxing world title is a great aspiration to have," said the mixed martial arts superstar.

"What a feather in the cap it would be. I always want bigger and better and to reach for the stars.

"I would love the rematch with Floyd Mayweather and I know the Manny one is there whenever I want it."

He added: "I would be honoured and love to be the first combatant to fight in that arena and what a fight that would be against a small and powerful southpaw.

"We would have to figure out the weight we do it at but it interests me, no doubt."

The build-up to Conor McGregor's UFC return against Donald 'Cowboy' Cerrone on Saturday has been tame by the Irishman's usual standards, but there was still some interesting verbal sparring.

McGregor lost his last bout to lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov in October 2018 and hopes a rematch will form part of a three-fight season, though the quality of his next opponents will no doubt depend on how he fares against the UFC's all-time wins leader Cerrone.

The outspoken Irishman was largely respectful of his veteran opponent in a pre-fight news conference on Wednesday, but he still delivered some stinging barbs in the lead up to their meeting.

We take a look at some of the best quotes ahead of this weekend's highly anticipated event in Las Vegas.

 

"YOU'RE STIFF AS A BOARD"

When it was confirmed Cerrone would be the man to take on McGregor in his comeback, an exchange between the two at the UFC's "Go Big" press conference in September 2015 was quickly brought out of the archives.

After then-interim featherweight champion McGregor said Rafael dos Anjos, at the time the lightweight champion with a defence against Cerrone lined up, would have a "celebration" if a fight between the two was agreed, Cowboy was unimpressed.

Cerrone: "Conor has no right going up to 55, there's no way, he's not going to stand a chance, we're too big for him, we're too strong. You can take your little English a** and get on."

McGregor: "You're too slow and too stiff. You're stiff as a board, I'd snap you in half and that's it. I see stiffness when I look in that 155-pound division. I feel like they're stuck in the mud almost. The featherweights hit like flyweights so it's nice down there just destroying them and killing that whole division. But I had my eye on that 155 division and I see them all stuck in the mud over there. Have I been wrong yet? No."

Cerrone: "You have a monster here at 45, [Jose] Aldo about to beat you're a**. You've beat nobody and you think you're gonna come into 155 and make a statement? Come on man, sit the f*** down."

McGregor: "Yeehaw!"

 

"I'D BEAT HIM WITH THE FLU"

McGregor will fight Cerrone at welterweight rather than returning to lightweight.

Asked why he did not make Cerrone's life more difficult by meeting him at 155 pounds, McGregor told ESPN: "I know, I could have. I just don't think he looks well at 155. He's a 170 fighter. I'd beat him at any weight. I'd beat him if I had the flu."

 

"MCGREGOR TO WIN BY KO"

While McGregor has revealed stories of him training with Tyson Fury were untrue, the former heavyweight boxing champion will be in attendance in Las Vegas to support the Irishman.

"Conor McGregor is gonna win. I say by knockout. And I'm gonna be there to see it happen cageside," Fury told Fight Hype.

 

"I'LL F*** YOU UP IN THE LOBBY"

Ahead of the pair taking to the stage for their pre-fight media conference, Cerrone warned McGregor, who has a penchant for cutting remarks while playing up to the crowd, against crossing the line.

Cerrone told MMA Fighting of McGregor's trash talking: "He's the best at it. He is the best. The thing is you'd really have to go low, talk about my grandma or my kid and then it would put it on another level. You understand what I'm saying? Then I'll just come f*** you up in the lobby type s***.

"I don't think it's ever going to go that way. He understands that. We're fighting, he can talk about that all he wants but don't low blow."

 

"ONE OF THE BIGGEST SUPERSTARS IN COMBAT SPORTS HISTORY"

McGregor may no longer be a champion and his return is not a title fight, but UFC president Dana White feels he brings something the organisation's biggest names do not.

White told reporters: "McGregor is one of the biggest superstars in combat sports history. You put McGregor with [Mike] Tyson, Sugar Ray Leonard, Evander Holyfield, he's in that list of guys. He has the biggest pay per view in history, so he's a mega star and to have him is big.

"All these other fighters have done great things, if you look at what Weili Zhang has accomplished, Israel Adesanya has accomplished, [Kamaru] Usman ... there's different levels of guys doing great things but to compare them to Conor is a tough one."

 

"I CAN READ HIM LIKE A CHILDREN'S BOOK"

The pair shook hands ahead of a media conference on Wednesday that proved largely cordial, with McGregor stating he will win by knockout but there will be no bad blood. He did still deliver one stinging line, though.

McGregor said: "I like him and all, he's a good guy, but I can read Donald like a children's book, if we're being honest. He's a good fighter, he's got some good tricks up his sleeve. I know the tricks he has, I know what he's planning and what he hopes to achieve. But we're well prepared, and we'll see on the night. It's going to be a good night."

After the mass brawl that marred his loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov and the subsequent ban and retirement, Conor McGregor is back in the UFC.

McGregor will go up against Donald Cerrone in a welterweight fight at UFC 246 in Las Vegas, which he hopes will be the first of three fights in 2020 – the ultimate goal being a rematch with Khabib.

But veteran fighter Cerrone, whose first professional mixed martial arts fight was almost 14 years ago, will be no walk over.

Ahead of the highly anticipated encounter, we look at the tale of the tape.

 

Conor McGregor

Nickname: The Notorious
Age: 31
Height: 175cm
Reach: 188cm
Leg reach: 102cm
Record: 21-4-0
Wins/losses by knockout: 18/0
Wins/losses by submission: 1/4
Wins/losses by decision: 2/0
Last three fights: Khabib Nurmagomedov (L - R4 submission), Eddie Alvarez (W - R2 KO), Nate Diaz (W - majority decision)
Fight night bonuses: Performance of the Night (6), Fight of the Night (2), Knockout of the Night (1)
Career highlight: Becoming the first man to hold titles in two weight classes simultaneously, adding the lightweight belt to his featherweight championship.

Donald Cerrone

Nickname: Cowboy
Age: 36
Height: 185cm
Reach: 185cm
Leg reach: 103cm
Record: 36-13-0, 1NC
Wins/losses by knockout: 10/6
Wins/losses by submission: 17/1
Wins/losses by decision: 9/6
Last three fights: Justin Gaethje (L - R1 KO/TKO), Tony Ferguson (L - R2 TKO), Al Iaquinta (W - R5 unanimous decision)
Fight night bonuses: Performance of the Night (7), Fight of the Night (11), Knockout of the Night (3), Submission of the Night (2)
Career highlight: Becoming the UFC's all-time wins leader by beating Mike Perry at Fight Night Denver in November 2018. He now leads the way with 23.

Love him or hate him there is no way you can ignore Conor McGregor and Saturday marks his long-awaited return to the octagon at UFC 246.

It has been 15 months since McGregor's last bout ended in a submission defeat to Khabib Nurmagomedov in a contest marred by an ugly post-fight brawl between the warring camps.

The charismatic Irishman, the first UFC fighter to hold belts in two divisions at the same time, is back, though, with veteran Donald Cerrone the opponent in Las Vegas.

Much has happened since McGregor's defeat to Khabib and below we take a look at the big questions ahead of his comeback.

 

What happened at UFC 229?

Oh boy…where do you start with this one? The build-up to this was fight was, let's dilute this a little, ugly. Back in April 2018, McGregor was involved in an attack on a bus carrying Nurmagomedov and other fighters. McGregor would eventually be forced to undertake community service and an anger management programme over the incident. So, naturally the scene was set for a red-hot build-up that had many barbs that crossed the line. After Nurmagomedov submitted McGregor in the fourth round the bad blood spilled over, with the Russian launching himself over the cage to fight members of his rival's team, leading to a mass melee. It was all rather unpleasant, unsavoury and unnecessary, and in truth not a great look for UFC.

What's happened since?

Well there was a retirement, a reversal on that decision, injury and an impressive body transformation. Not to mention plenty of sales of his Proper No. Twelve whiskey. And, unfortunately, there has been no escape from controversy. In March 2019, McGregor was arrested and charged with strong-armed robbery and criminal mischief after it was alleged he took a man's phone and smashed it on the ground in Miami – the charges were later dropped over inconsistencies in the victim's testimony. In November, McGregor was fined €1,000 after pleading guilty to an assault of a man at a pub in Dublin.

Will he fight Khabib again?

The jury remains very much out on this one. McGregor, who slipped to a 21-4-0 MMA record after the defeat, tweeted "book my rematch for Moscow" after Khabib's successful return against Dustin Poirier last September. The big-talking Irishman set himself a lofty ambition of fighting three times in 2020 and McGregor previously stated he wanted to face the winner of the bout between Jorge Masvidal and Nate Diaz, before going on to once again take on Khabib. Masvidal certainly looks a viable option following his victory over Diaz, whether the Khabib rematch gets sanctioned is another argument.

What is his style?

Lightning quick with ferocious power and incredible athleticism – McGregor is undoubtedly one of the all-time greats. A southpaw with awesome striking skills, one of McGregor's greatest traits is a unique fighting stance that suits both front-foot tactics and counter punching. He is not known for his ground game, which many pundits noted was crucial in his defeat to Khabib. 

Who is his opponent Cerrone?

Put simply, 'Cowboy' is a legend in MMA circles. No one boasts more UFC wins than Cerrone, who has earned legions of fans for his ability to thrill in the octagon. Never one to shirk a challenge, Cerrone has been in with the best of the best. But, 37 in March and coming into this fight on the back of consecutive defeats to Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje, it will be a tall order to overcome McGregor.

Why is the fight taking place at welterweight?

There was little shock when news broke McGregor was to fight Cerrone, though the fact the bout was to be contested in the 170lb division did raise some eyebrows – particularly given McGregor's stated desire for a rematch with lightweight king Khabib. UFC president Dana White explained McGregor's target for another dance with Khabib meant he was not keen on cutting to 155 twice. Both fighters are not particularly big welterweights, so it makes sense not to have go through the weight cut.

Is this fight make or break for McGregor?

When you bring the number of eyes, publicity and money as McGregor does no fight is ever make or break. But there is a feeling after several years of limited activity – since beating Eddie Alvarez in 2016 he has only fought Floyd Mayweather Jr in a lucrative boxing bout and Khabib – he needs to rediscover the fire that made him one of the UFC's greatest competitors. Win, lose or draw, McGregor will go again.

Conor McGregor says talks with Manny Pacquiao are "ongoing" after declaring his desire to fight for a boxing world title.

The Irishman is set to make his UFC return 15 months on from a submission defeat to Khabib Nurmagomedov when he faces Donald Cerrone in Las Vegas on Saturday.

While McGregor, a former two-weight champion in UFC, has his immediate focus on the Octagon, he still fancies another crack at boxing having lost to Floyd Mayweather Jr in a blockbuster bout in August 2017.

A rematch with Mayweather remains a goal for McGregor, who said there are talks to face Pacquiao, the Filipino great having won the WBA Super world welterweight title in July.

"I would love that Floyd rematch. For what was in front of me I thought I done very well and with some slight adjustments I'd have done even better," McGregor said at a news conference ahead of UFC 246.

"I feel now I could take that victory. Manny Pacquiao, talks have been ongoing.

"For me, an aspiration of mine now also is to win a boxing world title. 

"I think that would be a phenomenal feather in the cap and something I look to achieve in the future and something I will achieve. 

"I'm back with my boxing coaches at Crumlin Boxing Club where I learnt to throw a punch. 

"They've sat me down on my punches, we've cleaned up some things and I'm feeling really confident in my boxing abilities. 

"It'd be an honour to come back into boxing."

Conor McGregor promised there would be blood spilled in his welterweight showdown with Donald Cerrone at UFC 246 on Saturday.

McGregor is returning to the octagon for the first time since his loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov in October 2018, facing Cerrone in Las Vegas.

The Irishman and Cerrone were involved in a heated exchange during a news conference in 2015, but were far more respectful on Wednesday.

But McGregor (21-4) predicted a knockout victory, although he spoke of his respect for Cerrone.

"I've had my back and forth with Donald throughout the years," he said.

"The last time we spoke to each other or even saw each other would've been at that press conference many years ago. So much has changed since then.

"I was the interim featherweight world champion at the time and Donald predicted I wouldn't get through [Jose] Aldo. I got through Aldo. He predicted I was too small for the 155-pound division, I conquered that division.

"We've had a good back and forth myself and Donald and as time has gone on he's become a family man, obviously you've seen him compete so many times it's hard not to respect Donald right now at this stage and he has my respect.

"Although there will be blood spilled on January 18, it will not be bad blood and for the Mystic Mac prediction, it will be a KO."

Cerrone is excited about facing McGregor and said it would be the biggest challenge of his career so far.

"I'm looking forward to four or five rounds of battling with this dude man," he said.

"I don't want anything easy … it's good to be in there with him and really get in there and f****** giving it all we've got. I'm going five rounds with this dude, I cannot f****** wait until Saturday night."

He added: "He's the two-time belt holding champ so you can definitely say that this is to date the toughest battle I've stepped in against and I'm stoked.

"'Cowboy, can you fight the big fight? You never make it on the big fight.' Well, motherf*****, here's the biggest one, let's see."

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