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UFC 246: Conor McGregor returns to form with 40-second knockout over Donald Cerrone

In the same amount of time it took people to question whether Conor McGregor would pull away with a victory, the fight was over before it began. Inside the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, McGregor knocked out Donald Cerrone 40 seconds into the first round at UFC 246, opening the door and stating to the world he is once again “open for business.”

Conor (22-4) rushed in to start the fight, surprising a buckled (Cerrone 36-14, 1NC) with a knee. Right after he pulled a shocking move and nailed Cerrone with vicious shoulder shots, the second one breaking “Cowboy’s” nose.

That was the first few seconds into the fight. Twenty seconds in, Conor landed a brutal leg kick that brought Cerrone to the floor. Conor then pounced on him, and while the referee gave the tough Cerrone the chance to fight him off, there was no way he was able to recover.

I made history here tonight. I set another record,” McGregor stated after the fight. “I’m the first fighter in UFC history to get knockout victories at featherweight, lightweight and now welterweight. Donald holds the record for most head kick knockouts in UFC history. I was so very happy to get one myself against him. Thank you all for the support.”

This is the first win for Conor since 2016 when he bested Eddie Alvarez for the UFC Lightweight Title. Since then, he fought Floyd Mayweather in a boxing bout and lost decisively to Khabib Nurmagomedov in 2018. Between that time he was involved in a number of legal issues, from punching an old man at a bar to two ongoing sexual assault allegations. The ride was getting very bumpy for “The Notorious” one.

A change in his life, whether it be quitting drinking and being as disciplined as possible, brought a more subdued McGregor heading into fight week. No controversy, and nothing but love between Cerrone and McGregor. It was a weird change of pace that felt refreshing for a guy who is known for being controversial leading up to fights.

As for Cerrone, that was the third loss in a row for the veteran. This comes after losing to a Murders’ Row of fighters in Justin Gaethje and Tony Ferguson. There was no sign of retirement from Cerrone, who believes he has a lot left in the tank.

What’s next for Conor? His plan heading into 2020 was to head back into title contendership. He had a plethora of challengers waiting for him inside the T-Mobile Arena, from Jorge Masvidal to Kamaru Usman. For now, however, he can relish in the fact that for, one night at least, the king returned to reclaim his throne.

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Baseball Editor, Misc. Sports Editor. Covers all things combat sports (MMA, Pro Wrestling and Boxing). When he's not writing, Daniel hosts a podcast, The Main Event.
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