Conor McGregor jumped into the UFC 246 pay-per-view (PPV) main event and summarily destroyed Donald Cerrone in less than a minute. You can argue that “Cowboy” no longer has a chin after coming into last night’s welterweight headliner on the heels of back-to-back knockout losses, and that “Notorious” wasn’t really tested in areas where he’s demonstrably weak, but none of that really matters.
When you’re billed as the biggest star in MMA and perhaps all of combat sports, the only thing that matters is putting on a show in the most spectacular way possible while generating the most eyeballs (and revenue) in the process. McGregor delivered on all fronts and when you run the show — as Frankie Edgar use to say — you can do whatever the f—k you want.
Like compete for the lightweight title, despite getting finished by Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229 in late 2018. In fact, the power-punching Irishman hasn’t won a fight at 155 pounds since planishing Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205 more than four years back. Working in his favor is the precedent already set by the promotion in recent title fights, like Israel Adesanya vs. Yoel Romero. Yes, the same Romero who is coming off back-to-back losses.
“Does that make sense for me in any way shape or form for my business? No,” UFC President Dana White told MMA Fighting. “Is Yoel Romero the easiest dude in the world to deal with? No. And the list goes on and on but who gives a shit. That’s incredible. I’m in.”
McGregor holds four of the top five PPV records, breaking the two-million mark with his bout against Nurmagomedov. His Cerrone fight will likely return something comparable which is why UFC, owned by a talent agency (just in case you forgot that little nugget), will give him whatever fight he wants. Even if he doesn’t deserve it, because UFC is running a business and that IPO needs all the help it can get.
After dismantling Cerrone, “Notorious” talked about his welterweight performance with UFC color commentator, Joe Rogan, and suggested that he might be sticking around the 170-pound weight class. No question White and Co. are going to do whatever they can to get McGregor into the cage with Jorge Masvidal, the “Baddest Mother Fucker” in the game (he even has the belt to prove it).
Masvidal is at the top of a very short list of welterweight title contenders but has already gone on record to say he’s uninterested in beating Kamaru Usman for the division title because “Gamebred” is 35 years-old and wants a piece of that Irish pie. After all, would you rather be the best fighter in the division, or the richest?
And a victory for McGregor would probably grant him the opportunity to fight for a third division title, something he’s been talking about for over four years.
Then again, if Tony Ferguson upsets Nurmagomedov when they go to war later this year in Brooklyn, I would be on board for McGregor versus “El Cucuy.” I think the biggest question right now is which McGregor will show up. Most of his “Notorious” trash talk and pre-fight antics were absent from the build-up to UFC 246 and it’s too early to determine if that was out of respect for Cerrone or the byproduct of losing to “The Eagle” and getting into serious legal trouble.
Either way, the “King” has retuned to his throne ... and he’s got a target on his back.
For complete UFC 246 results, including play-by-play updates from last night, click here. To check out the latest and greatest UFC 246: “McGregor vs. Cerrone” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.