McGregor’s fellow Irishman and MMA enthusiasts can place a bet legally in Ireland using our best us casinos and hope to gain from the indomitable spirit McGregor displays.
Once upon a time, for one to consider an MMA ecology that did not revolve around the former two-belt world champion seemed impossible.
McGregor’s meteoric ascent through the UFC ranks skyrocketed in his crowning as the promotion’s first even reigning two-belt world champion back in the 2016 as he stopped Eddie Alvarez in style at UFC 205 to add the lightweight strap to his featherweight title.
Since then, however, ‘The Notorious’ has only returned to the octagon once!
McGregor’s bitter feud with lightweight rival Khabib Nurmagomedov ended in the Irishman’s defeat as he was submitted in the fourth round during a doomed attempt to reclaim his lightweight throne at UFC 229.
It has been another lengthy period since his last fight with the Russian, and when McGregor does return back to the Octagon, it will mark only his second appearances in three years, one month and 27 days.
In his absence UFC fans have witnessed the emergence rise of a new generation of superstars in the likes of Nurmagomedov, pound-for-pound king Jon Jones and middleweight champion Israel Adesanya have filled the void left behind by the charismatic Dubliner.
Adesanya made his debut in the promotion just eight months before McGregor’s loss Khabib and since then, the Nigerian-born and New Zealand international has conquered a number of middleweight division and sold out Australia’s Marvel Stadium to break the UFC’s standing four-year old attendance record.
Adesanya has showed a charismatic personality with an aura of affable arrogance in the long-run and his growth in particular appears to have helped UFC fans and enthusiasts move on from the “Notorious” – but Conor has done himself no favours on that front either.
McGregor has repeatedly made unfavourable headlines for his behaviour outside the Octagon; from bar brawls to bus attacks and all manner of unsavoury allegations beyond that, even the Irishman’s die-hard supporters have been forced to reckon with their hero’s fall from grace so far.
However, the noises coming from McGregor’s training camp should be music to the ears of his remaining fans with both striking coach Owen Roddy and head coach John Kavanagh teasing everyone for a refreshed and revitalised version of their long-time pupil.
Roddy admitted recently during an appearance on MMA Fighting’s Eurobash podcast that:
‘The last camp was just a bit sporadic.
“We didn’t know what time we were training at. Sometimes it was very late at night, sometimes it was early in the morning and nobody really knew. Even though we were making all of these sessions, I don’t think that’s good for you when he doesn’t even know what time he’s going to train at, just doing it off feel. For the past couple of months it’s been very regimented.
“We’re training at 11 and 7 every day. We’re doing strength and conditioning, whether it’s in the morning or evening, and then doing a technical session and it’s perfect. And you can see that’s reaping the benefits and rewards already from that.
“As I said, he’s been working on his strength and conditioning for a while before he even came into this camp, so now we’re not spending half the camp trying to get in shape or anything like that. Now, he’s in tip-top shape and now we’re just focusing on the game plan – coming up with a good game plan and going in and executing it.”
Kavanagh echoed his words at the turn of the year, writing on Twitter: “Jan 1st, last heavy spar today before going to Vegas.
“Can honestly say this is the best I’ve seen him and I wasn’t sure that was possible to do 6 months ago.
“You guys are in for a real treat, I’m just glad to have a good seat!”
If that wasn’t enough, a selfie shared by McGregor on his social networking site Instagram account earlier this month showed evidence of his renewed dedication in the gym.
It showed the former featherweight king sporting in a long beard looking every inch a welterweight with a suitably imposing torso proudly on show.
And discussing about his decision to return at 170lb rather than his native lightweight, McGregor revealed that he was looking to avoid draining his body needlessly with one eye on the upcoming 155lb title fight between Khabib and Tony Ferguson in April.
He told the Mac Life quoted via The Express:
“The lightweight title fight is in April or March, likely something will happen there and I will be ready to slot in for that bout.
“I’ll just have a fight, a good solid camp at 170lbs with no weight cut. A good fight. I know Donald is a good fighter; great records.
“The most knockdowns, the most head kicks, the most fights, the most rounds. He’s got a lot of UFC records under his belt. I’ll get a great camp, a great name and it’ll take me into the year.
“I’m looking at this as a season. This is the beginning of the season. Donald is the first I agreed to have a bout with and here we are.”
Be that as it may, Donald Cerrone remains a worthy opponent to fight McGregor and holds countless records that attest to his fabled striking ability.
The Cowboy comes into the bout on the back of successive losses but as McGregor alluded himself, to write the Denver native off would be a fatal mistake. There are many lessons he could learn from his rival.
His rival’s desire to compete at this stage should be a huge inspiration McGregor in his bid to re-claim his position among the promotion’s top elite has should he record another loss on his record and inactivity might be the only palatable option left on the table.
All that being said, it remains to be seen whether Cowboy Cerrone can inflict a shock in Las Vegas – or whether it will be Conor McGregor to deliver a timely reminder of his once-mythical talent?