The UFC 246 pre-fight press conference was pretty much everything you wouldn’t expect from a Conor McGregor fight week.
For starters, the Irishman turned up on time. Not just on time, but 5 pm on the dot in what was just the start of a very different showing from Irishman ahead of a big fight.
To say the exchanges between McGregor and Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone were cordial would be a gross understatement. The two frequently exchanged compliments and underlined the respect that now exists between the two of them.
McGregor’s doubled down on the fact that fans should expect violent warfare come Saturday, but was quick to add on two separate occasions that “although blood will be shed on fight night, none of it will be bad blood.”
The 40-minute presser was a far cry from the debacle of that kicked off UFC 229 fight week when McGregor faced Khabib Nurmagomedov.
There was no late start, there were no mentions of McGregor’s ‘Proper 12’ whiskey, and there frankly no animosity between the pair.
The closest that either came to bordering on confrontational came when McGregor was asked whether he feared anything that Cerrone brought to the table. The Irishman paid respect to his counterparts skillset but ended his response by saying he could “read him like a book.” Cerrone later retorted with “hopefully he’s got some hooked on phonics,” but it was response more aimed at drawing laughs rather than a barb aimed to cause conflict.
Truth be told McGregor and Cerrone more acted like long lost friends reunited rather than adversaries set to physically harm one another come this weekend. McGregor praising Cerrone’s snakeskin jacket and reminiscing about the python shoes he wore during his stint as a coach on The Ultimate Fighter in 2016 was just one of many instances were the former Champ-Champ went out of his way to praise his opponent and give respect to his 50-fight long career.
The press conference between the two started with a handshake and ended with one.
Conor McGregor and Donald Cerrone have their first staredown ahead of #UFC246 this weekend!
Posted by Fighters Only on Wednesday, January 15, 2020
It wasn’t your typical McGregor press conference but it was perhaps exactly what was required given the circus that surrounded his last outing in the Octagon against Nurmagomedov in 2018.
The fight between McGregor and Cerrone is yet to hit boiling point and all signs right now would indicate that it won’t happen during the pre-fight build-up. The press conference may not have encouraged those teetering on the fence to order the fight on Saturday night, but it was a refreshing change of approach from McGregor and it underlined the fact that for him at least, this weekend is simply all about getting the ‘W.’