The UFC 246 prefight news conference featured a much more subdued Conor McGregor than we have become accustomed to seeing, with the fighter directing praise towards his opponent for Saturday’s fight, Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone. In past pressers, such as the one before his fight with Khabib Nurmagomedov, McGregor has often resorted to trash talk and traded personal barbs with opposing fighters. However, Wednesday night was a different story, with the Irishman taking a more respectful tone, while still predicting that he would emerge the victor:

“It’s hard not to respect Donald right now at this stage,” McGregor said. “He has my respect. And although there will be blood spilled on Jan. 18, it will not be bad blood. And for the Mystic Mac prediction, it will be a KO.”

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Cerrone also expressed an admiration for his opponent, despite the two having a less than cordial history, having sparred with each other in a 2015 new conference:

“He did everything he said he was gonna do, didn’t he?” Cerrone said. “Any feelings? Yeah, he’s f—ing great man and I’m honored to share the thing with him.”

While much of the media session centered around Saturday’s fight, Cerrone did criticize a reporter who tried to ask McGregor about the two sexual assault allegations in his native Ireland which was  detailed by a report from the New York Times:

“We’re here to talk about a fight, nothing he does outside of fighting,” Cerrone said.

Looking past this Saturday, McGregor noted that, provided he came out of Saturday’s fight with relatively little damage, he could potentially fight again in the near future with a quick turnaround. When asked whether the March 7 UFC 248 card, which is currently lacking a main event, could be a target for him, McGregor responded “God willing, we come out safe from this bout here Saturday night. Most certainly, March would be well attainable.”

While the matchup this Saturday will certainly be intense with McGregor looking to pick up his first UFC win since 2016, Wednesday’s press conference showed that the two men in the Octagon have nothing but respect for the other.

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