Conor McGregor returned to the octagon in style at UFC 246 as he beat American fan favourite Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone in just 40 seconds in Las Vegas.
Irishman McGregor, 31, came out on top after one of the most spectacular performances of his career.
Two of UFC’s most popular fighters went toe to toe in the main event at the T-Mobile Arena.
But referee Herb Dean stepped in and waved off the contest inside a minute after a series of blows from McGregor.
“I made history tonight. I set a new record. I’m the first fighter in UFC history to secure knockout victories at featherweight, at lightweight and now at welterweight – across three weight divisions, so I’m very proud of that,” said McGregor.
He had not won inside the UFC’s octagon since capturing his second UFC world title in November 2016, and was submitted in four rounds by undefeated UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229 in October 2018.
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McGregor had said earlier in the week that he would look to “acquire rounds” against the 36-year-old American, but he showed no such patience as he came storming out of his corner and threw a huge left hand that immediately signalled his intent to claim a fast finish.
The Dubliner then connected with a series of shoulders to the face from the clinch, before following his man across the cage and connecting with a huge head kick that badly rocked Cerrone.
Several heavy left hands followed as Cerrone crumbled to the canvas, where he received a further barrage of strikes that sealed victory.
“One of the records he holds [is] the most head-kick knockouts. I’m so happy to be able to get him down with a head kick myself,” said McGregor.
“The UFC can strip fighters and give to other fighters make-believe belts in order to replicate my ‘champ-champ’ status. But they can’t give knockout victories across multiple weight divisions, so there you go again. Etch my name in history one more time.
“I like this weight division. I feel really good. God willing, I came out of here unscathed. I’m in shape. I don’t believe I’m there yet, though. I’ve still got work to do to get back to where I was.”