Conor McGregor is expected to beat Donald Cerrone at UFC 246 on Saturday, but ‘Cowboy’ warned against writing him off.
McGregor has been tipped to make a winning comeback in his first fight since October 2018, when he was submitted in a lightweight title fight against Khabib Nurmagomedov.
However, Cerrone is the UFC’s all-time wins leader and has greater experience at welterweight, with 10 bouts compared to the Irishman’s two.
Both fighters weighed in at the 170lbs limit in Las Vegas on Friday and, having been asked earlier in a media scrum whether his chances of winning had been written off, Cerrone launched an angry tirade before storming out.
“The light-hearted joking around with Cowboy, that’s all week long. It’s f****** game time. It’s time to go to work,” said Cerrone.
“I’m going out there and killing this motherf*****, man. Y’all are counting me out, watch this. That’s how I feel.”
McGregor wants to fight three times in 2020 and UFC president Dana White said he will get his desired rematch with Nurmagomedov if he beats Cerrone on Saturday.
“I’m coming for all of them in this division. It begins with Donald.”
— UFC (@ufc) January 17, 2020
Asked whether third-ranked welterweight Jorge Masvidal could be next for McGregor, White said: “No, that’s not the fight. Conor is not a 170-pounder.
“Conor was the 145-pound champ. Many people thought he wouldn’t beat Eddie Alvarez … he knocked him out in the first round.
“I don’t love him at 170 and this is something that Conor and I fight about and when I say these things he gets very upset with me.
“He wants this Khabib fight. If he beats Cowboy he’ll get a rematch with Khabib, if Khabib beats Tony [Ferguson at UFC 249 in April].”
White said the pay-per-view numbers for UFC 246 were on course to rival the biggest in the organization’s history and he had no issue with McGregor and Cerrone being cordial through much of the build-up.
“All the stuff that’s gone on with Conor over the last couple of years, people wanna see if he still has it,” said White.
“I was happy to see a happy, sane Conor McGregor. I’m cool with that.”