It was a star-studded affair in Las Vegas, and Conor McGregor captured his first UFC victory since November 2016 on Saturday night at UFC 246, beating "Cowboy" Donald Cerrone in the first round round via knockout. The Irish fighter never gave Cowboy a chance, knocking him out less than a minute into the fight.
Back at UFC 205 McGregor defeated Eddie Alvarez at Madison Square Garden to become both the UFC Featherweight and UFC Lightweight Champion. He was eventually stripped of both titles due to inactivity in the company, but in the meantime he stayed busy by taking part in a highly-touted boxing match with Floyd Mayweather. He then turned his attention back to mixed martial arts, and challenged Khabib Nurmagomedoc for the Lightweight Championship at UFC 229 in October 2018. He lost that bout via submission in the fourth round.
McGregor then teased on social media that he would be retiring from mixed martial arts, but quickly back off of that claim. Rumors of a rematch with Nurmagomedov began to swirl after that, but nothing materialized. Instead, McGregor opted to make the jump to Welterweight for a fight with Cerrone.
Days before the fight UFC president Dana White confirmed in an interview with Jim Rome that if McGregor beat Cerrone, he would get that championship rematch with Nurmagomedov.
"He gets what he's been waiting for," White said. "He gets what he's been asking for. He has been chomping at the bit for the Khabib rematch. I think it's no big secret.
"If he wins this weekend, he will get that shot at the title and it will be the biggest pay-per-view ever in UFC history," he added.
For what it's worth, Nurmagomedov already has his next title fight lined up against Tony Ferguson at UFC 249 in April.
In the build to Saturday night's fight, McGregor discussed his numerous legal troubles (and sexual assault claims) over the past few years. In an interview with SevereMMA he addressed the comparisons between himself and former boxing heavyweight champion Mike Tyson, who also had his share of issues with the law.0comments
"Now here's the thing: Yeah, definitely Mike Tyson has had his ups and his downs, and his money management has kind of led him to be in a position he shouldn't have really been in," McGregor said. "But if you look at Mike now, he's got his money, he's got his weed thing going, he's well for himself.
"But, yeah, I don't want to go down that path," he continued. "I didn't want to go down that path, and maybe I was heading down that path a little bit, so just listening to myself, listening to the close people around me that I respect, and just making amends with things."