No one moves the needle like Conor McGregor. No other fighter turns every appearance into a can’t-miss event. No one talks like him, enters an arena like him, takes your breath away like him or captures the world’s attention like him.
The list of celebrities at his triumphant return against Donald Cerrone on Sunday was longer than a Lakers-Clippers game this season. Matt McConaughey, Tom Brady, Tyson Fury … we could be here all day.
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The list of big names immediately responding to his 40-second TKO was even longer as the likes of LeBron James and Manny Pacquiao tipped their cap.
This is how the world reacted.
SEALED WITH A KISS
After McGregor had draped the Irish flag over his shoulders following the win, his partner Dee Devlin rushed to congratulate her man inside the Octagon.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR MCGREGOR
The result takes McGregor to 22-4 for his career as the first simultaneous champ returned to the octagon.
But the world quickly moved on to what’s next for the Irish superstar.
Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson fight in April for the lightweight title and McGregor could chase the winner.
But talk of Floyd Mayweather round two spiked immediately after the fight when the former boxing champ posted the following image to his Instagram account.
READ: McGregor’s demolition makes history
Whether it’s the 50-0 boxing champ looking to stay in the conversation or a legitimate announcement, it’s tough to say at the moment.
McGregor said a rematch with Mayweather would happen during his press conference, but remained coy on where it could take place if it were to go ahead.
“We’ll see what happens. Old Floyd, he’s a funny man old Floyd, so we’ll see what happens,” he said.
“Discussions are always ongoing, they never stop. You know Floyd and going through money fast. He’s far from retired and that rematch will happen at some stage.”
ESPN’s Brett Okamoto said White told him that Mayweather had been “blowing him up all night”.
“We’re doing something with Floyd. Floyd is in our plans and we’re in Floyd’s plans. We’ll be doing something with Floyd this year,” White added.
The talk has just fuelled speculation with plenty of hype around the potential match up.
UFC President Dana White however said the next logical step in the path back to the top for McGregor would be Khabib.
“Every time there’s somebody out there fun, there’s always someone fun who want’s to match up with Conor and everybody wants to fight Conor, everybody’s been wanting to fight for the last however many years,” he said.
“When Conor was going into the Khabib fight, he had lots of personal stuff, some stuff self inflicted, he had injuries, he had all this stuff going on and he’s been obsessed with getting that rematch because he knows he wasn’t 100 per cent right. When you look at this for Khabib, he’s 28-0, he’s undefeated, we start looking at this guy’s legacy.
“After tonight and how he won that first fight, we’ve looking at Hagler-Hearns, Ali-Foreman, Ali-Frazier, this is a massive fight with global appeal, it’s the fight you make, the fight that makes sense. If Conor and Masvidal fight, neither of them have a title, although Conor does want his BMF title, he doesn’t have a world championship so Khabib is the fight to make.”
Khabib-Tony Ferguson will headline UFC 249 in New York with White saying he wants McGregor to take on the winner.
He said a Khabib-McGregor fight could be done in a stadium, Madison Square Garden or the O2 in London.
But if you listen to the fans, there’s a clear favourite with who they want McGregor to take on and it’s holder of the “Baddest Motherf***** Belt”, Jorge Masvidal.
“WELCOME BACK CHAMP”
“The Notorious” floored Cerrone only 20 seconds into the bout with a perfectly placed kick before finishing it off.
He also sent “Cowboy” to the hospital, with the 36-year-old not turning up for the press conference after0 the savage beating.
The world quickly lost their minds.
McGregor lashed out at the UFC’s practice of handing out interim belts to decide the mandatory challenger for a belt.
“I’m so happy,” McGregor said after the fight. “UFC can strip fighters and give fighters make-believe belts but they can’t take away knockout finishes.”
UFC president Dana White said in the press conference that “Conor McGregor looked ridiculous tonight, nobody saw that coming”.