McGregor’s spectacular UFC return sparks speculation over next challenge

By Hayden Moore

IT TOOK Conor McGregor just 40 seconds to announce his emphatic return to the UFC last weekend and it has opened up doors across not only the organisation’s weight divisions, but combat sports too.

Since McGregor’s last victory, which came in arguably the most impressive championship win in UFC history against Eddie Alvarez in 2016, he has been much maligned for his out-of-the-octagon antics.

Conor McGregor v Donald Cowboy Cerrone UFC246 2

Conor McGregor basks in the glory of his latest triumph

But, making his return in the early hours of Sunday morning in Las Vegas against Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone, he showed the world why he has enjoyed a phenomenal rise in the world of MMA.

The Crumlin native’s fight may have lasted only 40 seconds, but in that time, he displayed an innate understanding of adaptability, counteracting Cerrone’s game plan to wrap up McGregor in a clinch.

Using his shoulder, McGregor fired off four blows to Cerrone’s face followed by a left knee which immediately bloodied up the American

Cerrone fired one shot, his trademark headkick, but the SBG fighter parried that effort and returned fire with a headkick of his own – this one landing.

A flying knee, a couple of overhand lefts to the temple and referee Herb Dean stepped in to stop the fight.

All week leading up to UFC246, a lot of talk was centred around McGregor moving up from lightweight and it attracted a lot of attention from the top fighters in the welterweight division.

BMF title winner Jorge Masvidal was in attendance, as was current welterweight champion Kamaru Usman and they both are on McGregor’s radar especially after carding a win at 170-pounds.

UFC President Dana White spoke after the fight about how the natural next fight to make for the Irishman is against the winner of the Lightweight title fight between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson in April.

Those two fighters have been fixed to clash on several other occasions and McGregor believes that one of them will pull out through injury, leaving him waiting in the wings to fill in.

White is working on developing ‘Zuffa Boxing’ and is apparently in talks with Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquaio, with McGregor eager to return to the ring and he has both men in his sights also.

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