Conor McGregor completely destroyed Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone at UFC 246 in Las Vegas on Saturday night, but the 31-year-old Irish superstar still lavished heavy praise on the felled American after the fight.
McGregor needed just 40 seconds to annihilate Cerrone, 36, from Denver, who is considered one of the toughest MMA athletes in the sport. Speaking to the media at the post-fight press conference, McGregor emotionally shared what he thought and felt about his most recent opponent.
“The records that man has, give him some sort of belt,” said McGregor. “Seriously, you give belts out for this, that and the other…what a phenomenal legacy Donald has, and it’s an honor to share the Octagon with that man. Seriously, I mean that.”
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Admires Cerrone’s UFC Records
McGregor might be the biggest star in the sport, but it was clear the admiration he lavished on Cerrone during the promotional buildup wasn’t just the fighter doing his part to help sell pay-per-views. In fact, McGregor got downright emotional when he revealed how much he respected all of Cerrone’s accomplishments and how much he was looking forward to seeing Cerrone add to the list.
“I’ve shared the Octagon with some great UFC fighters, and Donald is up there with the best of them all, so I’m very, very proud to share the Octagon with him,” said McGregor.
Cerrone entered UFC 246 with the UFC records for most wins, finishes and bonuses.
“Phenomenal records,” said McGregor. “I could only hope and dream to achieve the records he has.”
McGregor also noted how active Cerrone had been throughout his MMA career and that the real-life cowboy’s sheer number of fights was especially grand in comparison to McGregor’s own resume.
“He’s fought three times more fights than me,” said McGregor. “He fought 11 times in the last year, and I’ve only fought 11 times in the UFC period.”
McGregor improved to 22-4 with the win. Cerrone fell to 36-14.
Pleased With Fast Knockout
But McGregor seemed most happy that the fight was over so fast. It was almost as if McGregor had worried a little about having to hurt a fighter who he so clearly admired.
“I’m happy that it was clean enough,” said McGregor.
McGregor said he hoped heading into the fight that he wouldn’t have to do too much damage to Cerrone because the American is so tough and McGregor has so much respect for him as a fighter.
“I would have tried to have Herb (Dean) step in, you know,” said McGregor, referring to the referee. “That’s kind of what I was thinking on the way in, so I’m happy with the way it ended.”
And why would that be important to McGregor? It seems McGregor, just like many other UFC fans across the world, is a huge fan of Cerrone.
“He’ll recover, and he can go again,” said McGregor. “So I’m happy with that. I’m excited to see what he does, you know.”