The ordering process for Ultimate Fighting Championship pay-per-views has changed: UFC 246 is only available on ESPN+ in the U.S.
Conor McGregor recently posted a photo of a new, beefed-up physique on Instagram as he prepares to face Donald Cerrone at welterweight in the UFC 246 headliner.
So far, it seems that competing at 170 pounds is a positive for the former UFC lightweight and featherweight champion. According to UFC president Dana White, the promotion’s medical staff has been impressed with McGregor leading up to Saturday’s fight.
“I’m hearing he’s in phenomenal shape right now,” White told TMZ Sports. “The UFC doctor is actually saying he thinks Conor is in the best shape he’s ever seen him in.
“[His] head seems to be in the right place. Ring rust is real – I believe in it. We’ll see how that goes. And I think that the level of disrespect shown to ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone by the media, a lot of the fans, and definitely the sports books in Las Vegas, is insanity.”
McGregor has fought at welterweight twice in his career, splitting a pair of bouts against Nate Diaz in 2016. Cerrone, meanwhile, enters the matchup on the heels on back-to-back defeats to Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje.
“This fight is interesting in a lot of different levels,” White said. “Obviously, Conor’s been out for a while. Conor has fought two times at 170. He’s got a win and a loss at 170. I believe in ring rust. ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone has gone on these two-fight skids before and come back. ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone is almost one of those guys that needs something big to fight for. It’s more than just the money, all the things that go along with it. This is the type of fight that ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone is an absolute spoiler in. This is his deal. These are the type of fights he likes to be in.
“[Cerrone has] fought at 170 many times, is comfortable at 170. Conor McGregor will probably weigh in at 169 or 168 or somewhere around there. It’s even hard for Conor to hit 170. So [it’s a] very interesting fight [with] two of the baddest in the business to ever do it, and this is a fun one.”
While McGregor recently said that fighting at welterweight opens up more options for him, White said the Irish star still has hopes of being short-notice replacement in the UFC 249 headliner between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson rather than seeking another fight at 170 pounds if he defeats Cerrone.
“Here’s the thing: Realistically, Conor believes that Khabib vs. Tony Ferguson will not happen,” White said. “We’ve tried to do this fight many, many times. Conor wanted to do this fight at 170 because he wants to turn around and jump in and fight Khabib if that fight doesn’t happen. We’ll see what happens after this, and Conor is very focused on that rematch with Khabib.”