The ordering process for Ultimate Fighting Championship pay-per-views has changed: UFC 246 is only available on ESPN+ in the U.S.
According to Conor McGregor, welterweight is the perfect place to make his Octagon return after more than a year on the sidelines.
In an interview with ESPN, the Irishman revealed that he weighted “160 and a bit” approximately one week before UFC 246, where he will meet Donald Cerrone in the evening’s headliner at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The former two-division UFC champion believes 170 pounds is best for Cerrone, and it also creates many options for himself down the road.
“I know, I could have [made things difficult for Cerrone],” he said. “I just don’t think he looks well at 155. He’s a 170 fighter. I’d beat him at any weight. I’d beat him if I had the flu. I don’t need that. I just want to focus on my training and keep me sharp. I don’t want to cut and then build, and then cut. I’m happy where I’m at.
“170 is an exciting one for me,” he added. “I like 170. I like what’s going on in the 170 division at the minute. You’ve got Jorge [Masvidal] with that (‘BMF”’ belt, you’ve got the other guys fighting for the belt. I like all of what’s going on at 170, and I feel good at 170. I feel energetic – it’s what I weigh and that’s it. It opens up so many more options, right?”
McGregor has competed twice at 170 pounds in the past, splitting a pair of bouts with Nate Diaz in 2016 — two of the UFC’s most lucrative bouts of all-time. More recently, the SBG Ireland star was submitted in the fourth round by Khabib Nurmagomedov in the UFC 229 headliner in October 2018. UFC president Dana White has hinted that a win over Cerrone could land McGregor another shot at the Dagestani champion, even though it’s a weight class above the division where Nurmagomedov reigns.
Regardless, McGregor plans to return to lightweight in the near future.
“No, I’m not done at 155. No way,” he said. “I could make 155 for this fight, no problem. But I just want to go in fresh and ‘as it is’. Let the fight play as it is, and then open up all of my options.”
As for Cerrone, McGregor seems to have plenty of respect for the popular veteran, who has challenged for the lightweight crown in both the UFC and WEC and has also had success at welterweight. The two men initially crossed paths at a press conference in 2015 before McGregor had even captured the featherweight crown.
“Me and Donald have a history. Not a long history, but we’ve had a history. It’s an exciting bout. It’s a fan-friendly bout. It’s a fight that excites me,” McGregor said.
“I appreciate Donald, I have to say. He’s fought a lot of times since the last time I saw him, at the Aldo press conference many, many years ago. He’s gone on and fought so many times. He’s also a family man, with his grandmother and these things. I appreciate that. And I also appreciate his method he went about it, with the Proper whiskey. So much work goes into these things – to see that bit of respect, I appreciate that. I look forward to having a good bout.”
This time around, McGregor doesn’t need to manufacture animosity and produce pre-fight theatrics. It seems that the notion of competing again is what really motivates him heading into UFC 246.
“I’m happy to come back and have my comeback fight in the beginning of my season against Donald, and I look forward to it,” he said. “It’s going to be a good night, and I’m going to shine here on Jan. 18. I’m going to create magic inside the Octagon, like I have done many times before. But this time it’s going to be something special.”