Conor McGregor made quick work of Donald Cerrone at UFC 246, putting the decorated veteran away in just 40 seconds last night (watch highlights). His performance was tight, technical and violent, answering numerous questions regarding his ability to compete at the highest levels now that he’s a multimillionaire.
But now that those have been answered, we have a bunch of new questions ready for “Notorious.” Fortunately for us, ESPN’s Ariel Helwani was invited into McGregor’s dressing room immediately after the fight to ask some of them. Like what the overarching lesson McGregor took from the fight.
”Hard work pays,” McGregor said simply. “I’m no different than I was before, I was just was committed and work hard and earned it. And that’s it. We’re all equal, I feel. It’s the work you’re willing to put in and the commitment you’re willing to put in. And I was committed this camp and I’m happy and proud to represent my team and our work.”
He also pushed back at Helwani’s suggestion that it must be nice winning again after what many considered a two-year slump.
”Come on now, I lost in a boxing match and I tapped in an MMA fight,” he said. “I’ve never really been beat, let’s be real. You’ve never seen me beat. You beat a man by concussing him. So ... two matches. That narrative of it being so long since [a win]. It’s just been, I’ve been outside the game, it’s sporadic with my commitment to it. So it’s good to be back.”
When it came to strategy, McGregor admitted he came out a bit too hard at first and probably only missed his initial attack because of ring rust. But the adjustment was quick enough and he started picking his shots. That led to the thorough destruction we witnessed, with the beginning of the end coming via a big head kick.
”He was planning to head kick me!” McGregor said. “He wanted to knock me out with a head kick. So happy to catch him, I knew he had flaws in his own game. What a record he has, the most head kick knockouts. It’s a phenomenal record. So catching him with a head kick, I was very very pleased with that.
“Something else I was going for, the knockout victory across three weight divisions,” he continued. “Granted it was a technical knockout, but a knockout nonetheless. Donald is a phenomenal fighter, he’s not easy to put away. No one puts him away like that in 40 seconds, so very happy, very pleased. And on we go.”
As for when we can expect him back?
”Very quickly,” he said. “God willing I come out fresh tonight. As I said, I’ll have a celebration tonight, a little celebration, spend time with the family and then back to training. I’m sure we’ll talk within the next week and see what happens.”
”By this summer?” Helwani prompted.
”I’d say so, yeah. Possibly, yes,” McGregor said before getting more resolute. “Yeah. Yeah. Yes.”
But if McGregor had a preferred opponent or weight class, he wasn’t willing to share.
”It could be anything,” he said. “There’s a load of ‘em, so I’m just building myself. There’s still work to be done, I feel. There’s still a lot of work to be done. I heaped some amount of workload on myself in this camp and at times I had to take a back step for a couple of days to recover. So now I think I’ve built that foundation again, I can sustain the workload and I can continue. So there’s much more in me. So I’m going to keep that mindset and push forward.”
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