Saturday night marked the long-awaited return to the octagon for Conor McGregor. The Irishman was looking for a victory to prove that he is truly back, but Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone stood in his path. This highly-anticipated battle did not disappoint as McGregor defeated Cerrone with a mere 4:20 remaining in the first round, shocking viewers all over the world.
"I'm the first fighter in UFC history to secure a knockout victory at featherweight, lightweight and welterweight," McGregor said following the fight. "I'm very, very happy. I'm very proud."
The fight started with McGregor and Cerrone grappling, but the Irishman pressed his advantage early. He hit Cowboy with some shoulders to the head and then added in some punches once they separated.
McGregor left no doubt that he would win once he hit Cerrone with a kick to the head. He raced forward and finished off his opponent with several punches to the head. Referee Herb Dean ultimately stopped the bout, giving McGregor a victory in his return to the octagon.
Entering the weekend, there were doubts about whether or not McGregor would be rusty after last fighting in Oct. 2018. His most recent foray into the octagon was a loss to Khabib Abdulmanapovich Nurmagomedov, which many felt was the sign of the end for McGregor. He even announced retirement in March 2019.
However, the reports coming out the training sessions made it appear that McGregor had gotten back to the blue-collar approach that initially made him a star in Mixed Martial Arts. His coach, John Kavanagh, even said that McGregor was primed for a big performance on Saturday night.
Cerrone, on the other hand, was coming off two back-to-back losses, both of which were TKOs. There were concerns from UFC fans about his ability to take direct shots from McGregor. Would he be able to achieve victory by standing up and trading punches?
In the opinion of many fans, the best path to victory for Cowboy would be delivering multiple kicks to McGregor's legs and then taking him to the ground. He was viewed as the superior man on the mat, and these fans had no doubt that he could submit McGregor.0comments
While there were many questions heading into Saturday night's bout, the answers were quickly provided. McGregor showcased his skill and power and achieved victory in one of the most highly-anticipated battles in recent memory.
(Photo Credit: Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Getty)