LAS VEGAS – If Conor McGregor is a man of his word, then the UFC and their partnership with ESPN 2020 should do big business. McGregor, arguably the most popular fighter in the sport, plans to fight for the UFC three times since November 2016 after only two fights this year.
He ends a 15-month discharge on Saturday evening (10:00 p.m., ESPN + PPV). when he faces Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone at UFC 246 in the T-Mobile Arena. It is McGregor's first appearance as part of the UFC-ESPN partnership signed a year ago that broadcast the main ESPN Plus PPV card live. The 31-year-old McGregor has announced throughout the week that he wants to be more active regardless of the outcome of the welterweight non-title fight on Saturday.
"God wants me to be safe on Saturday night, whoever's next, I'm ready for March," said McGregor. "You will see many of me here. Nice days for all of you too."
Happy days indeed. Happy days for the UFC. Nice days for Las Vegas. Happy days for ESPN and happy days for his future opponents who want to get rich paydays to fight him. Cerrone is said to have earned $ 2 million for his fight with McGregor, by far the largest wallet in his career. UFC welterweight world champions, Kamaru Usman, and Jorge Masvidal, Bad Mother F, are in Las Vegas this week and both have expressed interest in facing McGregor.
"It's McGregor's multi-million dollar fighting club," said McGregor. "Donald's next. This will be a multi-million dollar payday for Donald, starting from a few hundred thousand. Remember how often he took this walk and never hit the seven-digit mark. I'm proud of that. And proud of the position I am in. They best believe all of their eyes light up when the name Notorious is mentioned. "
The important things first. McGregor has to look good against Cerrone, an experienced fighter who has just suffered two losses. The Irishman looked strong and solid and made the 170-pound weight limit on the nose, but wasn't sure how the extra weight and rust would affect his octagon performance.
If all goes well, McGregor could fight again in spring and autumn. He is open to Tony Ferguson or Khabib Nurmagomedov. These two are said to face each other at UFC 249 for Nurmagomedov's light belt. McGregor had not been in the octagon until Saturday night since Nurmagomedov submitted it to UFC 229 in October 2018.
"I want to face these two men," said McGregor, adding: "At some point I would like to have an argument with Tony and the rematch, we have to do this rematch [with Nurmagomedov], Both men are certainly in the crosshairs.
And don't be surprised if one of McGregor's fights this year is a boxing match. Manny Pacquiao seems to be making an option. Pacquiao's manager Sean Gibbons tweeted a fictional battle poster from Pacquiao and McGregor. Although no serious negotiations have taken place, McGregor has already considered fighting Pacquiao in the new football stadium built for the Raiders.
"I would like to be the first fighter to fight in this arena," said McGregor. "What a fight that would be against Manny, a little powerful south paw. We would have to find out the weight, but I'm undoubtedly interested. "
McGregor made nearly $ 100 million in a boxing match with Floyd Mayweather in 2017. McGregor was stopped on lap 10, but believes he could do better in a rematch.
"I thought I did a good job," said McGregor. "I won rounds. I've hit him more times than Manny. I think with small adjustments in preparation and a better understanding of what style he is approaching, I hit him. I really think I hit him. "
McGregor said one of his ultimate goals was to win a world boxing title.
"What a feather in the cap that would be," he said. “To be MMA world champion with two weights and then to win a boxing world championship. I always strive to reach for the stars. With activity, consistency and structure I can do anything. "