This Is What We Know About Conor McGregor And His UFC 246 Return

Conor McGregor

Dan Shapiro for BroBible


Presented in partnership with UFC 246 on ESPN+

There’s a GIF out there that perfectly describes the anticipation during the buildup to a Conor McGregor fight. It’s that one with Jonah Hill freaking out over the Mars Volta in “Get Him to the Greek.” It’s an image overbrimming with excitement, and it’s exactly how fight fans should be feeling right now because after 15 months away from competition, “The Notorious” Conor McGregor is returning to action at UFC 246 on January 18.

Now, this is no regular McGregor fight. Actually, is there even such a thing as a regular McGregor fight? Every time he steps foot in the Octagon (or the occasional boxing ring), it’s a major event, and this UFC 246 PPV main event on ESPN+ against Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone is no different. It’s just that it’s been so long since we’ve seen McGregor in action that we feel like something must be different.

And, something is different, although it’s more a matter of our own perception.

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For the better part of two years, McGregor has become known more for his personal and legal turmoil that’s been playing out in the tabloids. Well, that and his constant and shameless self-promotion of the Proper 12 whisky and August McGregor fashion brands. He’s become a pitchman for Pari Match, doing all sorts of ridiculous commercials more than fighting, which has led to a massive change in public perception. However, the fact remains, Conor McGregor doesn’t pull out of fights, and the UFC 246 main card, much like the old showbiz say, must go on.

So where do we sit eight days away from fight night? What do we know about Conor McGregor at this point?

Well, good news first. Conor is already in Las Vegas. He’s at the UFC Performance Institute putting in round, getting in work.

That’s actually a major sigh of relief after Darren Till barely made it to UFC 244 in New York, arriving just hours before he was required to weigh in. There was a lot of speculation that given his recent legal troubles, McGregor may have difficulty obtaining a visa. Luckily he’s an international icon, not to mention that the UFC has a few connections in pretty high places. But worry not, Conor is in “Sin City” putting the final touches on his training camp.

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Speaking of his training camp, McGregor’s longtime head coach John Kavanagh has been extra complimentary of Conor’s current camp and his fight IQ. Of course, that’s what he’s supposed to do, but if McGregor is anywhere close to his full potential at UFC 246, the whole world will be speaking about him again the next day. Why? Because when’s the last time McGregor was actually healthy heading into an MMA fight?

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At this point, it’s pretty common knowledge that McGregor’s foot was compromised when he got choked out by lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229. Prior to that, his last mixed martial arts contest was in November 2016 at UFC 205, just three months after he was hobbling around on crutches following his UFC 202 win over Nate Diaz.

Fighters are rarely at 100-percent when they enter the Octagon. A sport as demanding as MMA comes with numerous bumps, bruises, and torn ligaments, and McGregor seems to compete regardless of his physical state.

Need more proof? McGregor won his first UFC belt (the interim featherweight title) against Chad Mendes at UFC 189 with a partially torn ACL. And, two years prior, he beat featherweight G.O.A.T. Max Holloway with one knee after completely tearing his ACL, straining his MCL, and tearing his posterior horn meniscus during their 2013 fight.

Now, those are some seriously ballsy moves, and proof that McGregor always shows up on fight night.

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There are a few other things we know heading into the UFC 246 PPV main card on ESPN+, including a few new developments that McGregor will, in fact, host a public press conference in Las Vegas next Wednesday, January 15 (8 p.m. EST / 5 p.m. PST), and that he will do the media rounds the following day.

It doesn’t sound like much, but the fact that McGregor is out there promoting this fight is a great sign for the UFC 246 main card.

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The truth is, this is a major fight for McGregor, and while a loss to Cerrone will not abruptly end Conor’s career, as faux-celeb Jake Paul (Logan’s smarter brother?) tried to say the other day, this may be McGregor’s last shot at selling a fight of this high a profile, so it’s important to see him making all of these public moves. For fight fans, these types of appearances are comforting.

Elaborating on the importance of the UFC 246 main event for McGregor, we’ve already gone into great detail about what is at stake for “The Notorious” here. Feel free to click this link for an in-depth look at all of Conor’s options, but to paraphrase, with a win, he has all the options in the combat sports world, and with a loss, he has just a few, all of which are likely backed by eight-figure paychecks.

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Okay, now we’re going a bit long, but the basic gist is that Conor McGregor is indeed in Las Vegas for his UFC 246 PPV main event on ESPN+, he’s as healthy as he’s ever been, and he’s hungry for a big fight against Cerrone and the exposure that comes with it.

Conor McGregor returns to action on Saturday, January 18, when he takes on Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone in the UFC 246 PPV main event. The UFC 246 PPV main card on ESPN+ begins at 7 p.m. PST / 10 p.m. EST.

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UFC 246 PPV main card (ESPN+)

  • Conor McGregor vs. Donald Cerrone
  • Holly Holm vs. Raquel Pennington
  • Aleksei Oleinik vs. Maurice Green
  • Claudia Gadelha vs. Alexa Grasso
  • Anthony Pettis vs. Diego Ferreira

UFC 246 Preliminaries (ESPN 2) 5 p.m. PST / 8 p.m. EST

  • Maycee Barber vs. Roxanne Modafferi
  • Andre Fili vs. Sodiq Yusuff
  • Drew Dober vs. Nasrat Haqparast

UFC 246 Early Prelims (UFC Fight Pass) 1:30 p.m. PST / 4:30 p.m. EST

  • Chas Skelly vs. Grant Dawson
  • Justn Ledet vs. Aleksa Camur
  • Tim Elliott vs. Askar Askarov
  • Brian Kelleher vs. Ode Osbourne
  • Sabina Mazo vs. J.J. Aldrich

*Fight Card Subject to Change

Dan Shapiro is a writer, editor, musician, and producer currently based in Los Angeles. In addition to covering some of the biggest fights in combat sports history, he’s also hunted down the world’s best sushi, skied the northern hemisphere in July, and chronicled Chinese underground music for publications like CNN, the New York Daily News, VICE, and Time Out. Dan also conjured up a ghost at the Chateau Marmont while out on assignment for RoadTrippers. Follow him on Twitter here.

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