Weekend Warrior: The Return of Conor McGregor

Conor McGregor felt a need to scratch the itch. The former two-division Ultimate Fighting Championship titleholder will compete for the first time in more than a year when he battles Donald Cerrone in the UFC 246 headliner on Saturday at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Despite his inactivity, the uncertainty surrounding his future and high-profile run-ins with authorities, McGregor remains the sport’s most recognizable superstar. The 31-year-old SBG Ireland cornerstone last appeared at UFC 229 in October 2018, when he submitted to a fourth-round neck crank from Khabib Nurmagomedov in a failed bid to recapture the undisputed lightweight championship. Even so, he owns one of MMA’s most distinguished resumes, with wins over Eddie Alvarez, Nate Diaz, Jose Aldo, Chad Mendes, Dustin Poirier, and Max Holloway. In his 25-fight career, McGregor has never suffered back-to-back defeats.

Cover Photo: Hans Gutknecht/Digital First Media/Los Angeles Daily News (Getty Images)

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Conor McGregor

Conor McGregor punches Khabib Nurmagomedov. Photo: Hans Gutknecht/Digital First Media/Los Angeles Daily News (Getty Images)

Cerrone’s file bursts with accomplishment. He holds or shares UFC records for appearances (33), victories (23), finishes (16), knockdowns (20) and post-fight bonuses (18). However, Cerrone finds himself on a two-fight losing streak after consecutive setbacks against Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje. A potent and well-rounded offensive fighter, “Cowboy” has delivered 27 of his 36 career wins by knockout, technical knockout or submission.

UFC 246 “McGregor vs. Cowboy”—which streams live to ESPN+ pay-per-view at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT—will also feature a women’s bantamweight co-main event matching Holly Holm with Raquel Pennington, a heavyweight scrap pitting Alexey Oleynik against Maurice Greene, a women’s strawweight affair pairing Claudia Gadelha with Alexa Grasso and a lightweight tilt slotting Anthony Pettis opposite Diego Ferreira. ESPN (8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT) and UFC Fight Pass (6:15 p.m. ET/3:15 p.m. PT) will share coverage of the seven-fight undercard.

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Donald Cerrone punches Justin Gaethje. Photo: Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC (Getty Images)

Meanwhile, the Legacy Fighting Alliance organization kicks off its 2020 campaign with LFA 80 on Friday at the Route 66 Casino Hotel in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Dana White’s Contender Series alum Steve Garcia will lock horns with Elevation Fight Team export Jose Mariscal in the featherweight headliner. LFA 80 “Garcia vs. Mariscal” streams live to UFC Fight Pass at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.

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