When Conor McGregor fronted media in Las Vegas on Thursday ahead of his return to the octagon at UFC 246, there were no projectiles hurled and no insults towards his opponent.

For the most part, the Irish superstar didn't even talk over Donald 'Cowboy' Cerrone when a question was directed toward the American.

Instead, it was a jovial McGregor that greeted media and fans, answering questions about Sunday's (NZT) fight with a smile and a laugh.

He even arrived to the press conference on time.


It was a stark contrast to press conferences leading up to his unsuccessful lightweight title shot against Khabib Nurmagomedov in 2018, which included a backstage brawl and constant insults of Nurmagomedov in the lead up. To that point of his career, it wasn't an unusual thing for McGregor to get heated at a press conference.

"I'm just in a good spot," McGregor said of his demeanour leading into Sunday's bout. "I'm just committed and focused and happy to be here; mostly like I always have been."

McGregor has been out of the UFC for more than 15 months, but he continued to make headlines due to troubles with the law.

He appeared in court in October, pleading guilty to one charge of assault after an altercation with a man in a Dublin pub in April.

Late last year, the New York Times reported McGregor was under investigation after being accused of sexual assault.

It was the second such accusation against McGregor in 12 months, after he was arrested in January and questioned regarding an alleged sexual assault in December of 2018. McGregor denied both accusations and has not been charged to date.

When asked specifically about his issues with the law during Thursday's press conference, McGregor chose not to answer – with UFC boss Dana White mentioning McGregor commented on the subject in a one-on-one interview earlier in the week with the UFC's broadcast partners ESPN.

The Irishman did, however, touch on how his experiences over the past two years have affected him.

"Sometimes we've got to go to certain places in our lives to realise what we've got to do. I feel like I've turned over a new leaf. I feel as though I'm the same young man, but I do feel refreshed.


"I have not changed too much to be honest; I am who I am and have always been. Granted different opponents, different circumstances, but I'm in a position right now where I'm very, very excited to be here and I'm very excited to perform."

McGregor will step into the octagon on Sunday in a welterweight bout against Cerrone, who holds the UFC record for appearances, wins and finishes. The fighter's made it clear there was no animosity between them, and the friendly press conference reiterated that.

Donald 'Cowboy' Cerrone has the most wins in UFC history. Photo / Getty Images
Donald 'Cowboy' Cerrone has the most wins in UFC history. Photo / Getty Images

"There will be blood spilled, but it will not be bad blood," McGregor said of the fight.

"There will be no bad blood here, but there will be blood spilled – no doubt about that."

Instead it was Cerrone who let off a few fireworks, sharing his opinion on mixed martial arts media and McGregor's calm demeanour.

"For all you analysts and experts that are asking these questions, you would be f***ing stupid to think this man doesn't have a wrestling defence or some kind of grappling defence; for me to just walk in and be like oh I'm going to take him down and submit him – get a f***ing real life, man.

"We're professionals. Why can't Conor just sit here and hold himself like he's doing? This is f***ing amazing. You guys aren't getting the clickbait and all the s*** y'all want, but as a man, my hat's off to this son of a bitch for sitting here."

With the bout headlining the first pay-per-view card of the year, both fighters are expected to pocket a sizeable sum.

McGregor mentioned during the press conference Cerrone would make a multi-million dollar figure, he told ESPN earlier in the week he expected to pocket about US$80 million from the bout from endorsements, his fight purse, money from sponsorships and PPV points.

"It's cool to finally get what I deserve," Cerrone said during Thursday's press conference. "So thank you Conor. And you're right, you do bring the biggest pay days, you do bring the biggest eyes, so f*** why not have Cowboy along with you?"

McGregor responded: "Welcome, Donald, welcome. You've earned that multi-million dollar pay day and I'm delighted for you, bro."

UFC 246

Main card - from 4pm NZT on SKY Arena (pay-per-view)

Welterweight main event: Conor McGregor v Donald Cerrone

Bantamweight: Holly Holm v Raquel Pennington

Heavyweight: Aleksei Oleinik v Maurice Greene

Strawweight: Claudia Gadelha v Alexa Grasso

Lightweight: Anthony Pettis v Carlos Diego Ferreira

Preliminary card - from 2pm NZT on ESPN
Flyweight: Maycee Barber v Roxanne Modafferi
Featherweight: Andre Fili v Sodiq Yusuff
Flyweight: Tim Elliott v Askar Askarov
Lightweight: Drew Dober v Nasrat Haqparast

Early prelims - from 12.15pm NZT on UFC Fight Pass
Light heavyweight: Aleksa Camur v Justin Ledet
Bantamweight: Brian Kelleher v Ode Osbourne
Flyweight: Sabina Mazo v JJ Aldrich