5 Signs That Conor McGregor Is Really Back And Ready To Rumble At UFC 246

Conor McGregor

Dan Shapiro for BroBible

Presented in partnership with UFC 246 on ESPN+

Perhaps it’s time to stop doubting “The Notorious” Conor McGregor.

It’s been a rough couple of years for the former UFC dual weight champ, but just days away from the first UFC Pay Per View of 2020, it’s looking like McGregor is back in the form that propelled him to international superstardom and hundreds of millions of dollars. Well, at least in terms of how he’s selling the UFC 246 PPV main card and his main event bout against Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone on ESPN+.

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Just last week, it was unclear if Conor McGregor would even entertain questions from the media ahead of UFC 246. Most people inside the bubble took this as a sign of weakness, that Conor was hiding from cameras and microphones because perhaps he was unprepared for his January 18 comeback fight. But those concerns have now been alleviated, as McGregor made a few unannounced appearances to promote the UFC 246 main event.

And, listening to McGregor, he sounds ready to fight, and ready to begin his 2020 season with a knockout win.

“No one beats a focused me. No one beats a committed me,” McGregor recently told TSN’s Aaron Bronsteter. “I am the founder of this game. I am the creator of it all.”

So, with ahead of Conor McGregor’s return to the Octagon at UFC 246, it’s time to take a look at a few important developments that insinuate that “The Notorious” is truly back in peak form.


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McGregor is Finally Healthy

Look, in mixed martial arts, fighters are always banged up. The sport is incredibly dangerous and demanding, so it’s rare for a fighter to go into any bout fully healthy.

McGregor knows all about this. He won the UFC interim featherweight title in 2015 with a partially torn ACL, and there have been reports that his foot was fractured going into his mega-selling UFC 229 fight against lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. Additionally, just last year, McGregor broke his infamous left hand, which further delayed his comeback fight.

But all of that is now in the rear view.

And while McGregor’s head coach John Kavanagh, in an interview with Oscar Willis of The Mac Life, went on record saying something to the effect of a happy fighter is a dangerous fighter, it’s much more certain that a healthy fighter is a dangerous fighter. And a healthy Conor McGregor is definitely a dangerous beast inside the Octagon.


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McGregor is as Committed as Ever

Following his 2017 loss to Floyd Mayweather inside the boxing ring, McGregor seemed to stagnate a bit. I mean, $100-million and a booming whiskey business has a way of distracting anyone, let alone a businessman like McGregor. And, it’s clear he fell victim to the perils of international fame and fortune.

Spending too much time jet setting and not enough time inside the gym, McGregor became complacent and jaded. Elaborating on his nightmare training camp for UFC 229 during the recent TSN interview, McGregor stated that “I wasn’t as committed and I didn’t — I just went in for a fight and that’s it. I was damaged injured, unfocused.”

None of that seems to be the case at this point, and all signs indicate that McGregor has been sharp in training and even more committed than during his first run up the UFC ranks. As he says it “I’m here now, in a good spot. Physically, mentally and with a competitive spirit in me.”


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“Mystic Mac” is Back

One thing that instantly endeared McGregor to his legion of diehard fans was his ability to accurately predict the ending of nearly all of his fights. It’s how he earned the nickname “Mystic Mac.”

Famously calling his championship victory against Jose Aldo at UFC 194 (not only the knockout, but also how the fight would play out), McGregor has correctly pulled the “Mystic Mac” routine on many, many occasions.

Against Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205? McGregor called it. Dustin Poirier at UFC 178? McGregor called it. Diego Brandao at the UFC Dublin card in 2014? You guess it. McGregor called, inside one round.

Now with the UFC 246 PPV main event just days away, McGregor is already predicting the knockout, although he’s making viewers tune in to see when and how it’ll happen. He wants to build a little suspense, of course.

“I will seek the knockout,” commented McGregor to TSN. “I kind of want to accumulate rounds here. Like I said it’s the beginning of a season. I want to regain activity, and consistency, and more experience under the lights. So, I will not be in a hurry, but it will be a knockout victory.”


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He’s Already Lining Up Future Fights

Another one of McGregor’s great gifts is his ability to constantly line up sellable fights, not only inside the Octagon, but also in the boxing ring.

Remembering how McGregor manifested his 2017 mega fight against Mayweather, it actually all began on the Conan O’Brien show in 2015.

Now he’s doing it again.

Speaking with ESPN’s Ariel Helwani, McGregor is already talking about a rematch against Mayweather, as well as lucrative boxing matches against Manny Pacquiao and Paulie Malignaggi, perhaps even under the Zuffa Boxing banner if the UFC’s parent company ever decides to launch their boxing brand.

But the sweet science is just a side dish for an MMA fighter like McGregor, and he has numerous options inside the Octagon following the UFC 246 PPV main event on ESPN+, given that he beats “Cowboy,” of course.


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Fighting Cerrone at 170 pounds, McGregor is already eyeing bouts with a couple of fighters in that division, namely UFC BMF champ Jorge Masvidal and welterweight champion Kamaru Usman.

“Most certainly it’s about options,” offered McGregor to TSN, when asked about taking the UFC 246 main event at welterweight. “It opens up options for me in multiple divisions. Not a lot of people are doing this. Not a lot of people are willing to do this. It’s one of the reasons I chose 170.”

It’s nice to have options And, don’t forget, there’s always the lucrative rematch against Khabib, should McGregor earn another lightweight title shot.

He’s Off the Proper Twelve

In addition to a clothing line and numerous endorsement deals, McGregor’s main business interest during the last few years has been his Proper Twelve Irish Whiskey brand.

What? You haven’t heard of it?


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Spirits are a major revenue maker; however, when you’re a professional athlete, constant exposure to alcohol may not be the best recipe for success, and McGregor fell into the trappings of the boozy party.

Admitting to Helwani that he was drinking throughout UFC 229 fight week leading up to the Khabib fight, McGregor also stated that it’s been 3-4 months since he’s had a drink.

This of course is no certainty that McGregor will be in tip top shape, but given how aggressively he was pushing Proper Twelve at UFC 229, and how he hasn’t said a word about it leading up toe UFC 246, it’s hopefully a sign that a sober Conor is a dangerous Conor.

And, as he told TSN, “Add what is useful, discard what is not, and I carry on as myself.”


UFC 246 & ESPN+ Annual Plan Only $84.98 — Save 30%


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.


UFC 246 & ESPN+ Annual Plan Only $84.98 — Save 30%


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
  • Tim Elliott vs. Askar Askarov
  • Drew Dober vs. Nasrat Haqparast

UFC 246 Early Prelims (UFC Fight Pass) 3:15 p.m. PST / 6:15 p.m. EST

  • Justn Ledet vs. Aleksa Camur
  • Brian Kelleher vs. Ode Osbourne
  • Sabina Mazo vs. J.J. Aldrich

*Fight Card Subject to Change

UFC 246 & ESPN+ Annual Plan Only $84.98 — Save 30%


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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