Fight fans are not getting the same old Conor McGregor they’re used to entering the Irishman’s comeback fight tomorrow night (Sat., Jan. 18, 2020) at UFC 246 live on ESPN+ PPV from inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, when he takes on Donald Cerrone in a welterweight main event.
This will be McGregor’s first trip to the Octagon since getting choked out by rival Khabib Nurmagomedov back at UFC 229, and “Notorious” is taking a much calmer approach this time around. The typical verbal outbursts, personal attacks, and click-bait quotes that McGregor seems to push out every fight is nonexistent entering his battle with “Cowboy” and that’s okay. McGregor is at a point in his career in which his name, track record, and offensive capabilities inside of the cage are enough to sell a bout.
But why is McGregor being so reserved against Cerrone compared to his other fights?
While Cerrone has been extremely respectful in his own right, it may not actually have to do with McGregor’s opponent. According to former UFC women’s bantamweight champion Miesha Tate, McGregor’s new “humbled” persona is a direct result of his recent legal issues, which have seemingly checked the brash Irishman and put things into perspective entering 2020.
“I think it’s partially why we’re seeing the taming of Conor,” Tate said recently on MMA on SiriusXM (transcript by BJPenn.com). “I don’t think you can have those kind of allegations and still come across as brash and immature and that he doesn’t care.
“He’s showing a more sentimental, like a softer side. He’s showing a compassionate side. I think when you have those allegations looming over your head, it’s got to scare you a little bit and it’s got to humble you a little bit. Not just the loss but the type of things that Conor has done, those are bigger stories than his fight career has been.”
McGregor, 31, has had his fair share of legal issues over the past few years. Outside of the dark cloud of sexual assault allegations that currently hang over his head, “Notorious” has caught heat after punching an old man in the face, grabbing and smashing a fan’s cell phone, and needing to clear his name in a 2017 paternity claim.
All of that said, despite his newfound persona, Tate believes that the former UFC champion will revert back to his old ways in his next fight. McGregor just needs to regain momentum and sit across from an opponent eager to exchange verbal jabs in order to channel his old smack-talking ways.
“If he beats Cowboy, I think whoever he fights he will slowly start to integrate his trash-talking again because the brand will have made some turnaround,” she said. “But right now, he’s smart. This is exactly how he needs to handle his comeback and I think he needs to be candid and open, and continue as he has been with the story of Conor McGregor and his comeback.”
Whether or not fight fans have witnessed the chaos they are used to in the lead up to UFC 246, it doesn’t really matter. Conor McGregor is back in the fight game and looking to make up for lost time. That should be enough to get the blood boiling entering the first big fight weekend of 2020, especially considering “Notorious” is returning against a savage like Cerrone.
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 246 fight card this weekend RIGHT HERE, starting with the Fight Pass/ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ESPN at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+.