Anyone expecting fireworks and theatrics at Conor McGregor’s press conference with Donald Cerrone was sorely disappointed.
McGregor promised there would be blood spilled in his welterweight showdown at UFC 246 on Saturday (US time), but said it wouldn’t be ‘bad’ blood.
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McGregor is returning to the octagon for the first time since his loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov in October 2018, facing Cerrone in Las Vegas.
The Irishman and Cerrone were involved in a heated exchange during a news conference in 2015, but were far more respectful on Wednesday.
But McGregor (21-4) predicted a knockout victory, although he spoke of his respect for Cerrone.
"I've had my back and forth with Donald throughout the years," he said.
"The last time we spoke to each other or even saw each other would've been at that press conference many years ago. So much has changed since then.
"I was the interim featherweight world champion at the time and Donald predicted I wouldn't get through [Jose] Aldo. I got through Aldo. He predicted I was too small for the 155-pound division, I conquered that division.
"We've had a good back and forth myself and Donald and as time has gone on he's become a family man, obviously you've seen him compete so many times it's hard not to respect Donald right now at this stage and he has my respect.
"Although there will be blood spilled on January 18, it will not be bad blood and for the Mystic Mac prediction, it will be a KO."
Fans and commentators flocked to social media to comment on how ‘different’ McGregor’s presser was compared to previous.
The McGregor-Cowboy presser is just weird.— Andy Nesbitt (@anezbitt) January 16, 2020
Conor McGregor and Donald Cerrone talking about the material used for Cowboy's jacket is hilarious. Lots of fun.— Chamatkar Sandhu (@SandhuMMA) January 16, 2020
I finding this very strange, we're not use to seeing this at a McGregor presser....... anybody else with me? #UFC246— Niall McGrath (@niallmcgrath4) January 16, 2020
A real buddy-buddy vibe to this McGregor-Cerrone press conference...and I'm kind of digging it! Refreshing dynamic. #UFC246— Shaheen Al-Shatti (@shaunalshatti) January 16, 2020
Does anybody wish there was more animosity between McGregor and Cowboy here? Or are we all enjoying this laidback feel to this press conference for a change? #UFC246— MMA Latest (@MMALatestNws) January 16, 2020
A very different, relaxed, smiling Conor McGregor on display in his press conference. Respecting his opponent, supporting Aussie fire fighters... and only a small pop at animal rights activists. Can’t have it all! https://t.co/egczrdRIfa— Kevin Palmer (@RealKevinPalmer) January 16, 2020
Putting all the other stuff aside for now, the Conor McGregor who knew exactly how to frame things in the moment seems back. Focusing on fighting, respecting Donald Cerrone, and giving the fans what they want were all the right notes.— Dave Doyle (@davedoylemma) January 16, 2020
There was none of the craziness typically associated with a Conor McGregor press conference. He and Cowboy Cerrone were respectful and complimentary of each other throughout.— Jordan Bianchi (@Jordan_Bianchi) January 16, 2020
Can Cerrone cause a boilover?
Cerrone is excited about facing McGregor and said it would be the biggest challenge of his career so far.
"I'm looking forward to four or five rounds of battling with this dude man," he said.
"I don't want anything easy … it's good to be in there with him and really get in there and f****** giving it all we've got. I'm going five rounds with this dude, I cannot f****** wait until Saturday night."
He added: "He's the two-time belt holding champ so you can definitely say that this is to date the toughest battle I've stepped in against and I'm stoked.
"'Cowboy, can you fight the big fight? You never make it on the big fight.' Well, motherf*****, here's the biggest one, let's see."