The only time Conor McGregor and Donald Cerrone's first meeting gained any real heat was when they, and the crowd, found a common opponent.

In a far cry from the howling madness that helped McGregor become one of the biggest sports stars in the world, the press conference between the two headliners for UFC 246 yesterday was downright cordial.

When a reporter asked a question about McGregor's legal troubles outside the cage, the Irishman did not need to respond because Cerrone, UFC president Dana White and the bullish crowd did it for him.

The reporter was drowned out by a cacophony of boos and jeers. White said McGregor had already answered that question, and Cerrone interjected to say the two men were there to talk about the fight, and nothing else.

Conor McGregor, left, and Donald 'Cowboy' Cerrone pose for photographers during a news conference for a UFC 246 mixed martial arts bout. Photo / AP
Conor McGregor, left, and Donald 'Cowboy' Cerrone pose for photographers during a news conference for a UFC 246 mixed martial arts bout. Photo / AP

This build-up has none of the swaggering machismo of McGregor's fights with Nate Diaz, or the gaudy and garish opulence of the Floyd Mayweather fight, or the deeply personal attacks of his war with Khabib Nurmagomedov.

All McGregor and Cerrone could do was talk about how much they liked each other.

McGregor went so far as to avidly compliment Cerrone's jacket, a black, python skin number that was true to form for "Cowboy".

"We've had a good back and forth, myself and Donald," McGregor said. "He's competed so many times, it's hard not to respect Donald. He has my respect.

"Although there will be blood spilled, it will not be bad blood. I am as real as it gets, like the company slogan. I react to how the situation is, and that's it.

"The situation have been a specific way for some time. This situation seems to be a little different, so I reacted accordingly."

Cerrone himself returned the favour – and why wouldn't he?

The Colorado man is no avid sledger, he is 14 years, and 50 fights, into his career, and regardless of the result on Sunday he will never make more money in a single night in his entire life.


"Like Conor said, we're entertainers, we're here to' entertain, and blow the roof off this motherf...ker.

"We're going to go in there and fight our asses off, that's what got to happen.

"I'm coming, he's knows it. He's coming. We're going to blow the roof off this place guys, you don't understand. I'm so excited for this fight.

"It's cool to finally get what I deserve. So thank you, Conor – you do bring the biggest paydays, you do bring the most eyeballs."

McGregor's star power was clear to see from the start – fans were queuing out the front five hours before the presser was to begin, and they still hung upon the Irishman's every word.

But there was no snarling rage, as with Nurmagomedov. There was no strutting around the yard, chest puffed in defiance, as with Diaz. There was no urging for the crowd to scream insults at his command, as with Mayweather.

"We're just professionals," said Cerrone. "Why can't Conor sit here and hold himself like he's doing? This is amazing.

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"You guys aren't getting the clickbait and shit y'all want, but as a man? My hat is off to the son of a bitch for sitting here."

McGregor is trying to shape this fight as the beginning of something, a rebrand, and a return to form after the turbulent times that have enveloped him in recent years.

The only time he deviated from his message of respect for Cerrone, and his excitement to be back was when he made his once customary prediction, and even that was subdued – McGregor tipped a knockout, but did not name the round.

"I like him (Cerrone), he's a good guy, but I can read him like a children's book," McGregor said.

"He's a good fighter, he's got some tricks up his sleeve, but I know the tricks. I know what he's planning.

"We are well prepared. We will see on the night. It's going to be a good night."


Irish superstar Conor McGregor has pledged to help the UFC in their efforts contributing funds to assist with Australia's bushfire crisis.

The UFC has begun selling a "UFC Supports Australia" shirt, with 100 per cent of the profits to be donated to the Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund.

UFC president Dana White wore one of the shirts at Wednesday's press conference ahead of McGregor's clash with Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone at UFC 246 on Sunday, and McGregor promised some support of his own.

"What's going in Australia is tragic. I have many friends over there in New South Wales, many Irish people are over there," McGregor said.

"It's very, very sad to see, and I'm very proud to be assisting with the UFC in their efforts and helping."

"Since this stuff has gone on in Australia, we're working now to aid the Australian firefighters and the first responders.

"I know Australia is a strong nation, I know they will fight on and conquer this. The world is with them, so Godspeed Australia."

White last week pledged to donate US$250,000 to the Red Cross, as one of a number of international celebrities and sporting stars who have offered their assistance to those impacted by the horrific fires.

Several fighters at this weekend's event may also wear the shirts, which could be auctioned off to raise even more funds.

McGregor will make his UFC return against Cerrone this weekend after over a year on the sidelines.

The 31-year-old is a former UFC lightweight and featherweight champion, but he hosed down talk of a potential return to his original division for a bout with Australia's own Alex Volkanovski, the current title-holder.

"I'd never say never," McGregor said. "I could do it. Whether I would or not? Probably not for Alex at this time. I'd be interested to see the rematch with him and Max (Holloway), it was a good fight."