After almost 15 months out of the octagon, Conor McGregor is back!
The Irishman took just 40 seconds to stun American Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone, with referee Herb Dean forced to end the fight in the first round.
It has been more than three years since McGregor’s last victory, but this one is up with the best.
The man dubbed The Notorious attacked from the outset, pinning Cowboy against the cage before Dean put an end to the bout.
Cerrone, who has more wins, more finishes and more knockdowns than any other fighter in UFC history, could do little as McGregor connected with an early knee to the head and back-to-back shoulders to the head.
When he connected with a stunning left foot to the face, Cowboy was down and almost out.
He tried to defend from the mat, but McGregor’s strikes kept coming.
“I’m the first fighter in UFC history to secure knockout victories at featherweight, at lightweight and now at welterweight,” McGregor told Joe Rogan after the bout.
Asked who he wants to fight next: “Any one of these little mouthy fools can get it. 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, I’ve still got work to do to get back to where I was.
“I’m going to party tonight and celebrate, spend time with my family and get back in the gym and train.”
UFC 246 marked the first time in half a decade that McGregor fought either without a title, or without one on the line.
Earlier on the card, fans were disappointed by the co-main event featuring Holly Holm and Raquel Pennington.
Described by some as an “absolute snoozer” of a fight, Holm claimed the victory by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28).
“How do you even pick a winner from that? Nothing happened. What a terrible main undercard fight,” one fan commented.
“Man do I hate the clinches. All that training just to hug it out in the octagon,” another said.
“Ref allowing whole round in clinch even when nothing is happening,” another complained.
The win moves number three-ranked Holm to 13-5.