He’s trying to downplay it, but it looks like Conor McGregor is truly a changed man.
The returning superstar presented herself as an invigorated and reinvigorated fighter as she tries to mount her UFC return against Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone Sunday (AEDT) in Las Vegas.
And while we will have to wait to see if this translates into the Octagon, it has already manifested itself with a surprise. McGregor, famously known to have performed according to his plans, reportedly showed up early for the UFC 246 press conference.
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For Ariel Helwani of ESPN, McGregor arrived with 15 minutes of spare.
His performance at the press conference then featured little of the talk about the brands he became famous for. Instead McGregor was confident but reserved, and full of respect for Cerrone in a press conference light years away from the dirty-mouthed stravaganxa that preceded his attacks with Floyd Mayweather and Khabib Nurmagomedov.
“I don’t think I’ve changed too much, I’m who I am. I’m in a good position,” McGregor said when asked what had changed between now and his previous fight.
“I’m in a good position, I’m ready to fight.
“I’m going to kick off the big 2020 UFC.
“It’s damn good to be back.”
The mood of the press conference took a brief turn when a reporter asked Conor McGregor to comment on his legal issues resulting from allegations of sexual assault – which the Irishman strongly denied.
UFC chief Dana White closed the question, saying that McGregor had already addressed it in his exclusive interview with Helwani earlier this week.
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While McGregor apparently had no interest in engaging in a war of words, he certainly doesn’t lack confidence in Sunday’s battle.
“I made this game what it is, so I go there and remind everyone of it,” said McGregor.
“I’m going for the knockout.”
McGregor reiterated his interest in a return to boxing – potentially for a rematch with Mayweather and claimed that talks with Manny Pacquiao were “underway”. He also sent a sincere message of support to Australia during the fire crisis.
Cerrone, barely visible under his large branded hat, was complementary to his opponent and said he could not wait for the fight.
“We are the last dying race of some fighters. It’s nice to share the Octagon with this man. I’m still kicking a ** and having fun doing what I love,” he said.
Watch the UFC 246 press conference below!