Conor McGregor has urged Irish politicians to utilise military forces to make sure people adhere to the lockdown enforced amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Earlier this week, UFC star McGregor pledged to donate €1million worth of protective equipment to hospitals in his country, which has had over 2,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 22 deaths.

Now, in response to the Irish government placing stricter restrictions on the general public for two weeks on Friday, McGregor wants to see the military on hand to make sure people only leave their homes if they need to buy food or their work is essential.

"We have now entered a more substantial lockdown and I am pleased to see it," McGregor said in a video uploaded to his Facebook account.

"We must abide by the legislations put forth by our leaders. Now more than ever we must abide by this and I pray for the health and safety of our country that we do.

"The fate of our lives and the lives of our loved ones depends on it."

McGregor added: "Our defence forces have been mentioned as a possibility in assisting our 50,000 Gardai available, but only if necessary.

"However, it is necessary. I urge the government to utilise our defence forces alongside Gardai Siochana and for full, 24-hour patrol. We cannot go by chance here.

"Any less than full adherence to these newly put-forward methods by any members of our society will not only be a mockery to what we are attempting to do here, it will put the rest of our great nation in danger. We just cannot take that chance.

"I know our nation will comply but please utilise all our available assets to assist with this."

The Dubliner also called on the country's airports to be closed immediately and suggested the only flights which should be allowed are ones carrying "essential medical equipment" or those returning health workers from abroad. 

McGregor concluded: "To President [Michael] Higgins, to all of our leaders, close our airports, utilise our defence forces.

"To the nation, abide by these measures impeccably."

Conor McGregor said he is donating €1million worth of protective equipment to Irish hospitals in the battle against coronavirus.

The UFC star revealed he was making the pledge in a Twitter direct message to Paschal Donohue, the Irish Minister for Finance.

On Tuesday, Irishman McGregor had urged for a deployment of an instant "true lockdown" in a bid to combat the spread of the global pandemic, which has seen over 20,000 people die from COVID-19.

McGregor showed that Donohue responded to him via a Twitter DM, urging the Dubliner to "give some thought to how you might encourage social distancing", with the 31-year-old revealing his pledge in the subsequent reply.

In the private conversation that he made public, McGregor wrote: "Today I am purchasing myself €1million euro worth of personal protective equipment to be deployed to all the fighting hospitals in the Leinster region.

"Our most affecting region, to this date, St. James. Mater. Tallaght. Beaumont. Vincent's. Where we would be without these brave men and women, I do not know."

However, McGregor went on to implore the Irish government to enforce more draconian measures when it came to a lockdown.

"We need more units on the street to enforce this lockdown, Pascal," McGregor continued.

"It has been too lax! I seen yesterday though this has been given more of a push. I was happy to hear and I am eager to see it in effect."

McGregor cited building sites and airports remaining open as problematic, before adding: "'All in' is the term we must use here.

"Bit by bit will cost us lives.

"To see what is happening here in Ireland and all across the entire globe is heartbreaking to me." 

Two weeks ago McGregor had suggested his aunt had died after contracting coronavirus, though he later clarified that COVID-19 was not the cause of her death.

It seems no matter how many times Georges St-Pierre insists he is retired the lure of competition just proves too strong and there would be no greater challenger than the fearsome Khabib Nurmagomedov.

GSP is simply a legend in the world of MMA but he has not fought since 2017 when he defeated Michael Bisping, a fight itself that followed a four-year hiatus.

Khabib, meanwhile, has steamrollered all before him and 'the Eagle' is preparing for a mouth-watering bout with Tony Ferguson.

But, should Khabib come through that unscathed, would the prospect of a showdown for the ages be too good for GSP to turn down?

In the second instalment of our UFC dream fights we would love to see series, we have taken a closer examination of Khabib and GSP's records in the Octagon.

 

WHY DO WE WANT TO SEE THIS FIGHT?

This fight would pit an all-time great in GSP against a modern-day great in Khabib and it is a bout MMA fans are desperate to see.

Khabib is headed for the sort of career where he can quite legitimately claim to be the greatest of all time, while GSP is also in that elite category.

With awesome wrestling skills and expert striking there are not many weaknesses in Khabib's game. GSP also has few flaws, although his advancing years – he is now 38 – would probably make Khabib favourite if these two were ever to mix it.


GREATEST ACHIEVEMENTS

As yet, no one has been able to conquer Khabib, who is unbeaten in 28 professional MMA fights. He reached the summit of UFC's lightweight division with a dominant decision win over Al Iaquinta at UFC 223 in April 2018 and has since defended the strap against Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier. 

GSP is a UFC Hall of Fame shoo-in. He is a two-time welterweight champion, including nine successful defences during his second run from 2008 to 2013. In 2017, GSP defeated Bisping to become middleweight champion, which remains his last fight in the organisation. 


WHAT'S THEIR MMA RECORD (W-L-D)?

Khabib: 28-0-0

GSP: 26-2-0


TALE OF THE TAPE

Khabib:

Age: 31
Height: 5' 10" (177cm)
Weight: 155 lbs (70 kg)
Reach: 70"
Leg Reach: 40"

GSP:

Age: 38
Height: 5'11" (180cm)
Weight: 185 lbs (84kg)
Reach: 76"
Leg Reach: 42"


WHAT THEY'VE SAID ABOUT A POTENTIAL FIGHT

"Our opponent is definitely Tony Ferguson. There's no other name that deserves it. We wanted the GSP fight, but GSP didn't get along with the UFC. If the UFC and GSP can negotiate, we want to meet GSP after the Ferguson fight," Khabib said in November on the potential for fighting GSP further down the line.

"We tried to make the right fight but it didn't work," GSP told ESPN in September. "If everything is aligned contractually, as we speak now, yes, I would [come back for Khabib]."

FIGHT STATS IN UFC

Khabib:

- Khabib has a 50 per cent significant strike accuracy, with 679 of 1364 such attempts landed.

- A highly accomplished grappler, Khabib has landed 59 of his 124 takedowns attempts for an accuracy of 48 per cent.

- He lands 4.29 significant strikes per minute, and absorbs just 1.7 from his opponents. Khabib has an average fight time of 13 minutes and 56 seconds.

- In defense too, Khabib is impressive. He has thwarted 85 per cent of takedowns, and defended against 67 per cent of significant strikes.

GSP:

- GSP has connected with 53 per cent of significant strikes, landing 1,313 of his 2,470 attempts.

- A similarly astute grappler, 90 of his 122 takedown attempts have landed for a grappling accuracy of 74 per cent.

- GSP lands 3.83 significant strikes per minute and absorbs 1.5.

- He has defended 84 per cent of the takedown attempts against him, and 73 per cent significant strikes.

Not many can rival Conor McGregor's talking game but in Jorge Masvidal the Irishman would go head-to-head with a worthy adversary.

McGregor has forged a lucrative career in MMA by backing up his skills on the microphone inside the ring, meaning 'The Notorious' will forever be known as a UFC legend.

Masvidal has been around the block and earned a legion of fans for his all-action style but it was not really until the last year that the 'Gamebred' really rose to prominence.

While McGregor is not the natural welterweight Masvidal is, there is certainly a clamour to see the two go to war.

In the first of a series of UFC dream fights we would love to see, we closely examine McGregor and Masvidal's records in the Octagon.

WHY DO WE WANT TO SEE THIS FIGHT?

It is not just their ability to whip up a frenzy with their trash talk that would make this such an intriguing fight. The bout would be somewhat of a risk for McGregor, who is more at home in the featherweight and lightweight divisions.

McGregor has fought just three times at the 170lb welterweight limit, but a potential showdown could be a real slugfest between two supreme strikers. 

Many feel Masvidal – who also has good wrestling and grappling skills – may be too big for McGregor, but the latter has never backed down from a challenge and the bout would be a big-money draw.


GREATEST ACHIEVEMENTS

McGregor will forever be known as one of the greats of UFC and needed just 13 seconds to knockout the fearsome Jose Aldo and win the featherweight title in 2015.

A year later, he outclassed Eddie Alvarez to snare the lightweight strap and become the first man in UFC history to hold belts in two weight divisions simultaneously.

Masvidal is a veteran of the game but it was a trio of outstanding victories in 2019 that really saw him rise to prominence, a second-round knockout of Darren Till followed by an astonishing five-second triumph over Ben Askren.

Towards the end of year, he defeated Nate Diaz – a man familiar to McGregor, the pair having fought twice in 2016 – to become the BMF champion.


WHAT'S THEIR MMA RECORD (W-L-D)?

McGregor: 22-4-0

Masvidal: 35-13-0


TALE OF THE TAPE

McGregor:

Age: 31
Height: 5' 9" (175 cm)
Weight: 155 lbs (70 kg)
Reach 74"
Leg Reach: 40"

Masvidal:

Age: 35
Height: 5' 11" (180 cm)
Weight: 170 lbs (77 kg)
Reach: 74"
Leg Reach: 39"


WHAT THEY'VE SAID ABOUT A POTENTIAL FIGHT

"Any one of these little mouthy fools can get it. All of them. Every single one. It does not matter," McGregor said after beating Donald Cerrone in January, a fight that Masvidal attended.

 "It's a big money fight. It's a dude that's a two-time division champion. He has some impressive records, and he comes to fight man, so in that aspect, yes," Masvidal told the Ariel Helwani Show.


FIGHT STATS IN UFC

McGregor:

- McGregor has a 49 per cent significant strike success rate. Out of 1,110 such attempts, 543 have landed. 77 per cent of these strikes come from a standing position, with 13 per cent from the ground.

- The Irishman averages 5.43 significant strikes landed per minute and absorbs 4.4.

- In defence, McGregor has avoided 55 per cent of significant strikes, and seen off 70 per cent of takedown attempts.

- The majority of McGregor's attempts are to the head, with 383 (71 per cent) landed in that area, compared to 92 (17 per cent) and 68 (13 per cent) to the body and legs.

Masvidal:

- Masvidal has a slightly lower significant strike accuracy of 49 per cent. 967 of his 1,957 attempted strikes have landed.

- The Miami native is more aggressive than McGregor in his attempt to try takedowns, completing 15 of 31.

- Masvidal has impressive defensive abilities, protecting himself against 67 per cent of significant strikes and 78 takedown attempts.

- The stats show his targets for striking are a little more varied. 526 (62 per cent) of his strikes have landed on the head, with 204 (24 per cent) and 122 (14 per cent) to the body and legs.

The coronavirus pandemic continued to wreak havoc on the sporting calendar on Saturday with more major events and competitions being disrupted.

With the outbreak of COVID-19 rapidly spreading across the globe, it has resulted in the postponement of competitions worldwide as governments attempt to combat the pandemic.

A small number of events still went ahead, but sports stars, teams and indeed supporters were otherwise left to find other means of entertainment.

With the number of confirmed cases worldwide now totalling over 155,000, we round up all the latest news and updates.

 

Germany's prestige friendly with Italy later this month became the latest football fixture to bite the dust, with the majority of upcoming international matches having now been wiped out.

More major organisations have halted all footballing activities until a later date, including Qatar, Morocco and Egypt.

A small number of competitions, most notably the A-League, Russian Premier League and Mexico's Liga MX, did manage to go ahead as planned.

Indeed, NRL games also avoided the cut, as did a handful of Super Rugby matches before an indefinite ban was put in place later in the day.

Another competition to fall was Australia's one-day international series against New Zealand, which was already being played behind closed doors.

With New Zealand's government introducing strict protocols to attempt to slow the spread of the virus, the Black Caps – along with Super Rugby side Highlanders – returned home from Australia and Argentina respectively in order to beat the new restrictions, which will mean any new arrival to the country, even if they are a citizen, has to self-isolate for 14 days.

With the top-four tiers of English football being shelved until at least early April, there was plenty of focus on the National League as six games were given the green light.

There was some controversy in Argentina as River Plate's Copa Superliga clash with Atletico Tucuman was suspended after the home side refused to open their stadium.

Independiente's tie with Velez Sarsfield was played out in full, albeit behind closed doors, with the hosts claiming a 1-0 victory.

In Italy, Napoli urged their supporters to sing from their balconies in unison as Fiorentina's Patrick Cutrone and two more Sampdoria players tested positive for COVID-19.

Manchester City's Benjamin Mendy revealed a negative test result after recently self-isolating, but Carlo Ancelotti and Angelo Ogbonna questioned the Premier League's handling of the outbreak, while Jordan Pickford denied reports he is self-isolating.

West Ham vice-chairman Karren Brady, meanwhile, claimed the competition should be "void" – a suggestion Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher quickly dismissed.

The lack of football did not stop certain clubs from keeping supporters entertained, though, with LaLiga side Leganes posting live updates of a fictitious match against Real Valladolid, which they won 2-1.

Perhaps inspired by their Spanish counterparts, Southampton got Manchester City involved in an online game of noughts and crosses to help fill the void.

The downtime also gave football stars a chance to recuperate, with Sergio Ramos and Alexis Sanchez among those to post images of their extra-curricular activities.

Others, such as Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson and FIFA president Gianni Infantino, opted to use social media to educate their followers on how to properly wash their hands, while Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi used his profile to echo the sentiments of Cristiano Ronaldo in calling for people to follow the guidance of health organisations.

As Ronaldo and Jurgen Klopp were praised by the World Health Organisation for "protecting people from coronavirus", former United States president Barack Obama hailed a host of NBA stars – including Giannis Antetokounmpo and Zion Williamson – for donating large amounts to help support arena staff during the league's hiatus.

UFC superstar Conor McGregor labelled the pandemic "a stupid f****** virus", but later moved to clarify his aunt did not die after contracting the disease after previously suggesting as such.

And in more positive news, Japan's prime minister Shinzo Abe revealed his country still plan for the 2020 Olympic Games to go ahead in Tokyo, starting in late July.

The International Olympic Committee will have the final say, but ABE is confident the Games will be staged "without problem".

UFC star Conor McGregor has clarified that his aunt did not die from coronavirus after previously suggesting as such on social media.

On Friday, the Irishman paid tribute to his relative and expressed his concerns about the continued spread of COVID-19 across the world in an Instagram post.

The 31-year-old opened up on his heartbreak at hearing the news and said: "My poor little friendly loving auntie. This stupid f****** virus. What the f*** is happening."

However, McGregor has posted another message to explain his close relative did not die as a result of contracting the respiratory illness.

Alongside an image of his aunt holding him as a child, McGregor said: "I want to clear up that it has been confirmed she was not a victim of coronavirus.

"I am grateful for the kind wishes and sympathy for my auntie's passing.

"As we prepare for her funeral, I know that many of us will confront the virus in the weeks ahead.

"As I gather with my family, I ask you all to make an extra effort to be there for friends and family during the stressful days ahead."

Conor McGregor has vented his fury at "stupid" coronavirus after suggesting his aunt died from the respiratory illness.

Irish UFC superstar McGregor took to social media to pay tribute to his relative and expressed his concerns about the continued spread of COVID-19 across the world.

Europe has been declared the epicentre of the pandemic with close to 100 confirmed cases in Ireland, including one death – an elderly woman with underlying health conditions.

McGregor did not make clear if his aunt died directly from the disease, but the 31-year-old – due to appear on US television when told the news – has called for everyone to pull together.

"Sitting in the chair about to beam live to all the U.S morning talk shows, I get a phone call telling me that my lovely little auntie Anne had passed away," he posted on Instagram.

"I couldn't go live anymore. My poor little friendly loving auntie. My mother's sister. This stupid f****** virus. What the f*** is happening. 

"I took my family to bull island. Looked out at the sea. Took a deep breath. Thank f***! Lord thank you. 

"Stay tight people! We are all we got love. Rest in Peace Anne Moore I love you."

McGregor, who made his return to the UFC with a stoppage win over Donald Cerrone in January, claimed he is more susceptible to becoming ill due to his training regime.

"I'd train my ass off, to the point of low immunity. It's inevitable with the intensity of the training," he added in the social media post. 

"The immune system will be tested. I would float around in this manner, and always end up catching little colds and flus. I feel bulletproof right now though! 

"Stay vigilant on our personal hygiene people. And our personal space."

Conor McGregor's hopes of a rematch with Khabib Nurmagomedov may have been dashed after his rival responded to reports of a second bout by saying "giving me $100 million for me to beat up that idiot again? I don't think that’s rational".

Khabib scored a convincing submission victory in their first showdown at UFC 229 in October 2018, a night that was marred by an ugly brawl between the two warring camps in the aftermath of their fight.

McGregor spent 15 months out of the Octagon following the defeat before returning to earn a first-round knockout over Donald Cerrone last month and the Irishman has spoken of his desire for another shot at unbeaten lightweight king Khabib.

This week, Khabib's manager Ali Abdelaziz told TMZ that Saudi Arabia would be willing to stump up a whopping $100m to host a Khabib fight if McGregor or Floyd Mayweather Jr were his opponent.

However, Khabib – who is scheduled to defend his lightweight belt against Tony Ferguson on April 18 – appeared uninterested in facing off with McGregor again.

"Why do I need that kind of money? There are so many organisations for example…there's not only football for the blind, there's Sambo and other sports," he said when speaking to reporters in his native Dagestan. 

"Let [UFC] give it to them, if they don't know what to do with the money. But giving me $100 million for me to beat up that idiot again? I don't think that's rational.

"What'll happen after a fight – no one knows. I don't worry about it. I'm surprised people even question me about a rematch.

"It seems that people want to continue the festivities after the fight. Everyone saw what happened in the octagon. I controlled the fight every step of the way.

"I did everything I wanted to do to him – he even gave up. How can we discuss a rematch? We can only talk about continuing festivities and making money."

Khabib said his only priority for the time being is focusing on Ferguson.

"I have a fight on April 18," he added. "A very serious fight. For the past month and a half I've been consistently training day and night. 

"I've gotten myself in good shape, to where I'm supposed to be 70 days before a fight. I feel great."

There aren't many similarities between the San Francisco 49ers and Conor McGregor.

While McGregor plies his trade in blood-and-thunder five-round contests in the UFC Octagon, the 49ers operate in an NFL world where almost cinematic sporting dramas play out over around three hours in gargantuan stadia.

Yet there is one parallel that runs through McGregor's dominant recent victory over Donald 'Cowboy' Cerrone and the Niners' surge to Super Bowl LIV in Miami on Sunday, and it relates to their shared use of a postural therapy method.

The Egoscue Method, created by founder Pete Egoscue, is a form of therapy used to eliminate chronic pain and increase functional mobility.

Jack Nicklaus said Egoscue "totally changed my life" following his well-documented back problems, and should the 49ers lift the Lombardi Trophy by beating the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, two former Egoscue staff members now employed by San Francisco will be among those celebrating.

Niners general manager John Lynch, who joined the team along with head coach Kyle Shanahan in 2017, knew Egoscue from high school, and their long-standing relationship led to the team hiring Elliott Williams and Tom Zheng as functional performance staff.

Brian Bradley, Egoscue's vice president of brand development and strategic partnerships, worked with the 49ers into Lynch's second year in charge but distanced himself from taking credit for San Francisco's success in 2019.

He told Omnisport: "I've worked with John since his college years, into his pro years and then afterward when he was an analyst, and then when he became GM, we knew we were going to do something together because he knows he has the best interests of every player at heart and he knows Egoscue has the foundational movement for that.

"They're in their third year and the reason why this kind of stuff is successful is because John has built a congruent organisation.

"They're not in the Super Bowl because of Egoscue, they're in the Super Bowl because they've drafted five number one draft picks for defensive line. They have an amazing quarterback, they have amazing running backs, they have a great tight end, they have a great team and the athletic trainers and the medical staff work very well with the strength staff, and then the functional performance coaches, who are right in between there, are doing an amazing job.

"They [Williams and Zheng] used to work for me and I hired them but I won't take any credit for anything other than that. They're just good guys."

However, the aforementioned tight end, All-Pro George Kittle, was effusive in his praise when asked about Williams and Zheng ahead of the Niners' seventh Super Bowl appearance in franchise history.

Kittle, who recently revealed he has played with a torn labrum since 2018, told reporters: "I've worked with them almost every single day since I got here. They've been one of the most important parts of my recovery every single week, just from a function movement standpoint.

"After a game when you get hit a bunch of times, your body's kind of out of whack and they always help me get it back to square one which allows me to play week in, week out.

"They're incredible, incredibly professional, they have a great time doing what they do and the amount of guys that they've helped in the three years I've been here has been uncountable."

Getting the body in the right alignment is a key tenet of the Egoscue Method, and Bradley's influence in assisting McGregor in that regard was a factor in his devastating 40-second win over Cowboy.

Bradley said: "I got hooked up with Conor because, after the Khabib [Nurmagomedov] fight, I lost my mind about it.

"The minute I saw the fight with Khabib, I'm looking at it on my television saying, 'This is an unfair fight', and nobody knows that it's unfair because the way that Conor was aligned with his head position, upper back and hips, he wasn't able to drive punches from his hip.

"He was driving from his shoulder and he was trying to breathe with his shoulders, just watch him in the first round and the second round, he's heaving his shoulders up and down to try to breathe.

"My good friend and colleague [motivational speaker] Tony Robbins got a hold of him, and I took pictures of the TV and sent these to Tony and said, 'You've got to get these to McGregor somehow because something in his camp has gone wrong'. About six months later, he says 'Look, I'm meeting with him'.

"The idea of being a hip-driven athlete fully resonated with him [McGregor] because he said, 'I felt like I wasn't getting enough power out of my punch and I couldn't breathe, and I see by the pictures that you took when I was fighting, I see the cause'.

"I gave him five things to do 12 days out from the fight [with Cowboy]. I gave him a more resilient, hip-driven movement so that no matter what he was doing, you weren't going to see a kid who was out of breath in this fight.

"When he was fighting Cowboy, he drove his shoulder into his face four times, he didn't just raise his shoulder up, he drove from the leg through the hip, through the shoulder and up into his face. He won the fight with four punches off his shoulder and one kick to the head."

It is unlikely the 49ers will land such a quick knockout blow against the Chiefs, but if the stars align for them at Hard Rock Stadium, it will be in part because their functional performance staff got their bodies in the right position.

UFC president Dana White has compared Conor McGregor to boxing greats Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson and Sugar Ray Leonard after the Irishman made his return to the Octagon.

McGregor needed just 40 seconds to defeat Donald 'Cowboy' Cerrone in Las Vegas on Saturday, as the 31-year-old marked his comeback after 15 months away from the Octagon in style.

And White believes McGregor has now reached the same level as stardom as icons such as Ali, Tyson and Leonard.

"[Conor] is such a huge superstar. I put him up there with Tyson, Leonard," White told a media conference.

"All of them," he added when asked if McGregor could be compared to Ali, considered to be the greatest fighter in boxing history.

"He's got the biggest pay-per-view in pay-per-view history. How many of the top 10 does he have? I don't even know. He's one of the biggest stars out there.

"A lot of the times coming in his career he's been doubted for his talent and he proves everybody wrong every time."

White was also asked how much McGregor was worth to UFC, with a figure of $2billion suggested by a reporter.

"Two billion dollars? Sounds like a good number, I'll take that," White joked. "I don't know what he's worth to the company but it's big.

"You couldn't go anywhere without seeing this fight and knowing that this fight was on. All the people came out and watched the fight.

"This is one of those fights that people who normally don't buy [do] buy, right? So, the number is always massive.

"Then Conor comes out and does what he did tonight. You can't put a number on that. It's massive and it's global. The whole world was watching tonight."

McGregor's previous fight came in October 2018, when he was defeated by Khabib Nurmagomedov.

In his own post-fight news conference, McGregor outlined his intention to go up against the Russian once more, and White is eager to make a rematch happen.

"We're at a place right now where Conor was saying that, going into the Khabib fight, he had lots of personal stuff," said White.

"Some stuff [was] self-inflicted. He had injuries. He had all these things going on. He has been obsessed with getting that rematch because he knows that he wasn't 100 per cent right.

"We're looking at like Ali-Foreman, Ali-Frazier. This is a massive fight with global appeal. It's the fight you make, it's the fight that makes sense. It's for the 155-pound title.

"It's huge for Khabib’s legacy, too. If he beat McGregor, then he beats Tony Ferguson, then he beats McGregor again, I mean, this is how this kid, when he retires, he's 30-something and, oh, he's beaten all of the best."

If you blinked there is every chance you may have missed Conor McGregor's clinical and devastating return at UFC 246.

The Irishman only needed 40 seconds to defeat MMA legend Donald Cerrone in Las Vegas on Saturday in what was his first bout in the Octagon for 15 months.

Many had predicted a McGregor victory, just maybe not the swift nature of it, and more difficult challenges lie in wait for the 31-year-old.

So just who is next for McGregor? We take a look at six possibilities.

 

JORGE MASVIDAL

A man, like McGregor, whose verbal skills match his technical ability. After a stellar 2019, which brought victories over Darren Till, Ben Askren and Nate Diaz, Jorge Masvidal has frequently tried to catch McGregor's attention, even going as far as to wear the same Versace robe the Irishman donned for his 2017 fight against Floyd Mayweather Jr when in attendance for the Cerrone bout. While 'the Notorious' laughed off that attempt to get under his skin, he once again conceded the prospect of facing Masvidal for the UFC's BMF belt is an interesting one.

NATE DIAZ

It seems unlikely a trilogy fight between McGregor and Nate Diaz will take place in the immediate future but who knows in the MMA game? Their first two encounters in 2016, which were split at one apiece, were among the most lucrative in UFC history. After McGregor's victory over Cerrone, Diaz took to Twitter to call out the event as "fake", prompting a reply from his long-time foe at a post-victory news conference in which he said: "Let's go brother, number three. It's always here, so we are right here Nathan."

KAMARU USMAN

McGregor made history in 2016 by becoming the first fighter in UFC history to hold belts in two divisions at the same time. After successfully stepping up to 170lbs to defeat Cerrone, the chance to hold a third strap at welterweight is sure to be of interest. The man currently in possession of the prize is Kamaru Usman. McGregor called out the Nigerian-American after his victory over Colby Covington last month and Usman has been unsurprisingly open to the idea. An intriguing sub-plot prior to the Cerrone fight was a series of unsavoury Tweets posted from Usman's account aimed at McGregor, though he later insisted he was hacked. 

KHABIB NURMAGOMEDOV 

There was bad blood in and out of the Octagon when McGregor and unbeaten lightweight king Khabib Nurmagomedov first waged war in October 2018. On that occasion, Khabib submitted McGregor before an all-out melee marred the win. McGregor has clamoured for another opportunity, while UFC president Dana White said of the possibility: "It's the fight you make, it's the fight that makes sense." Certainly, there would be plenty of eager eyes on this one.

MANNY PACQUIAO

In the immediate future, it looks as though McGregor still has goals in UFC he wants to accomplish. But prior to beating Cerrone, he made no secret of a desire to win a boxing world title and revealed talks were ongoing to face Filipino great Manny Pacquiao. Even at the ripe old age of 41, Pacquiao remains as active as ever and defeated Keith Thurman via a split decision to win the WBA Super welterweight champion last July. 

FLOYD MAYWEATHER JR

It was one of the most lucrative fights in history when these two first danced together in a Las Vegas super fight in August 2017. McGregor vowed to avenge his defeat to 'Money' if a rematch were to happen, and Mayweather teased the possibility on Instagram when he mocked up a poster that read "Mayweather McGregor 2, 2020". Addressing that after the fight, McGregor said "that rematch will happen at some stage". Perhaps this one really is a matter of when, not if. 

Conor McGregor revealed he lost his motivation for UFC after achieving a rapid rise to prominence in mixed martial arts, but he says he has now rediscovered his love for the octagon.

McGregor returned after a 15-month absence on Saturday, claiming a rapid first-round victory over Donald 'Cowboy' Cerrone in Las Vegas, which took just 40 seconds.

The 31-year-old had not fought since losing to Khabib Nurmagomedov in 2018, while the Irishman had also ventured into boxing when he faced Floyd Mayweather Jr in 2017.

His time away from mixed martial arts started with a six-month ban imposed after a post-fight brawl outside the cage following his showdown with Khabib.

McGregor was then arrested and charged with strong-armed robbery and criminal mischief in March 2019 after it was alleged he took a man's phone and smashed it on the ground in Miami – the charges were later dropped. In November last year, he was fined €1,000 after pleading guilty to an assault of a man at a pub in Dublin.

However, McGregor insists he is now fully focused on his mixed martial arts career, after acknowledging that he let the people who supported him down.

"I achieved it all. I broke the game before I was 30 years of age, simple as," McGregor told a news conference. "One belt became not enough.

"My coach says it’s the worst nightmare for a coach if his student achieves it all – the money, the fame, the belts, all of this. What then to motivate me?

"I probably had to go through that and then come back to it for the love of it, which is why I got into it in the first place. Everything's a learning curve, you learn what's right and wrong.

"I wasn't committed and it was a disrespect of the people that believed in me. People were taking the time away from their families to come and help me and I wasn't committed with it. I would train and then I'd go missing for three days and then I'd come back and it was sporadic and on my call."

McGregor is adamant the only trick to success is hard work and discipline.

"It's all about commitment and then just do what you need to do. All I did was put in the work," he added.

"We know what the work is we need to do but sometimes you just don't do it. It's like little defeats and then those add up and your interest wanes, then you can get injured and all those things.

"It's about commitment, that's it. You put in the work and you reap the rewards, there's no secret sauce to this. Recognise what you need to do, f****** do it, and you will succeed."

"Etch my name in history one more time". That was the message from Conor McGregor after returning with a devastating first-round TKO against Donald Cerrone at UFC 246.

McGregor ended his 15-month absence in stunning fashion, needing just 40 seconds to stop Cerrone in Las Vegas on Saturday.

Irish star McGregor (22-4) had not fought in the octagon since his loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229.

However, former featherweight and lightweight champion McGregor had no trouble at welterweight against veteran Cerrone as he brutally beat the American.

"I like this [welterweight] division," McGregor said in his post-fight interview. "I feel really good.

"But I came out of here unscathed. I'm in shape. We've got work to do to get back to where I was."

Asked about potential next opponent with Jorge Masvidal in the crowd, McGregor said: "Any one of these fools can get it.

"All of them. Every single one. It does not matter."

After striking Cerrone (36-14) with his shoulder, McGregor then delivered a devastating kick to the head before a flurry of punches prompted the referee to stop the welterweight bout and main event.

"I'd never seen anything like that," Cerrone said. "He busted my nose, it started bleeding, and he stepped back and head-kicked me. Oh, man. This happened this fast?"

Boxing great Floyd Mayweather Jr. seemed to announce a rematch with Conor McGregor after the Irish star's devastating return to UFC.

McGregor needed just 40 seconds to stop Donald Cerrone via a brutal TKO at UFC 246 in Las Vegas on Saturday.

Making his long-awaited comeback after a 15-month absence since his submission loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov, McGregor quickly disposed over Cerrone as he reminded the world of his skills in the octagon.

After McGregor's exploits, legendary fighter Mayweather teased a second blockbuster bout via social media.

Mayweather stopped McGregor in the 10th round when the UFC superstar made his professional boxing debut in August 2017.

In an Instagram post, Mayweather uploaded a picture titled "Mayweather McGregor 2, 2020".

The unbeaten Mayweather retired for the third time after that bout almost three years ago, but announced last November that the 42-year-old would resume his career yet again in 2020 for a "spectacular event".

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