The wait is almost over. We are just a few weeks away from the return of Conor McGregor. After a year-long absence, The Notorious One finally returns in January 2021 to take on Dustin Poirier in a highly-anticipated rematch. The pair fought each other in a featherweight clash for the first time at UFC 178 in 2014. The rematch, however, will take place in the lightweight division.
The McGregor-Poirier rematch will take place in the main event of UFC 257, the first pay-per-view of 2021 on January 23.
We didn't see much of Conor McGregor inside the octagon in 2020 most likely due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and fans' absence. However, McGregor is always in the spotlight, both inside and outside the octagon, true to his reputation.
The Irishman had previously expressed the desire to remain active and promised to fight at least thrice in 2020. Instead, he ended up competing just once, that outing happening at the beginning of the year in January. This year has been a topsy-turvy one for most people across the globe, and this was the case with McGregor who fought, retired, and then got another fight booked, all of it in 2020.
As the year comes to an end and we look forward to the much-anticipated return of Conor McGregor, let's take a look at the Irishman's best moments in 2020.
1. Conor McGregor's 40-second finish of Donald 'Cowboy' Cerrone
The hype surrounding Conor McGregor's return in 2020 was unbelievable. After more than a year's absence since his devastating loss against Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229, McGregor prepared to take on fight-game veteran Donald Cerrone at UFC 246 in January.
People were excited to see how McGregor performed after a year-long lay-off following the loss to Khabib. However, McGregor put all doubts were put to rest once he stepped inside the octagon in the main event of UFC 246. Forty seconds was all it took for McGregor to shatter Cerrone's nose, collarbone, and earn himself a spectacular TKO victory on his return.
The win fueled excitement surrounding McGregor's next opponent and a potential rematch against Khabib down the line. However, the excitement soon died out as the Irishman spent the rest of the year outside the octagon.
2. Donating over $1 million to first responders
Conor McGregor has repeatedly shown that underneath his all-conquering persona as a fighter lies a heart of gold. In October, McGregor donated a sum of $100,000 to Tunnel to Towers Foundation for their COVID-19 relief fund. Conor McGregor chose First Responder's Day to donate through his whiskey company, Proper No. Twelve.
The donations were sourced from the sale of McGregor's 'One For All' t-shirts. The proceeds from the sales went to the families of the first responders who lost their lives in the line of duty, battling the ongoing pandemic. Conor McGregor's total contribution to Tunnel to Towers, a non-profit organization dedicated to first responders, crossed $1.2 million in 2020.
3. Announcing his retirement from MMA
Conor McGregor shocked the world by suddenly announcing his retirement from the sport in June. He took to Twitter to share a picture of him and his mother in Las Vegas following one of his title fight victories and announced his MMA retirement.
"Hey guys I’ve decided to retire from fighting. Thank you all for the amazing memories! What a ride it’s been! Here is a picture of myself and my mother in Las Vegas post one of my World title wins! Pick the home of your dreams Mags I love you!Whatever you desire it’s yours."
Conor McGregor revealed that he chose to retire from the sport due to a lack of activity. However, his retirement was short-lived once the UFC officially announced McGregor's rematch against Dustin Poirier which is scheduled for January 23.
4. Pledging $500,000 to Dustin Poirier's charity
This year, Conor McGregor tried to set up an exhibition sparring match with former foe Dustin Poirier. In a heartwarming gesture, the Irishman promised to donate a sum of $500,000 to Poirier's Good Fight Foundation charity.
However, the exhibition sparring match never took place as Dana White promptly approached both McGregor and Poirier with contracts for a high-profile rematch. When he confirmed his participation in the fight, Conor McGregor also reaffirmed that he will still go ahead and donate $500,000 to Poirier's charity.
5. Congratulating Khabib Nurmagomedov on his retirement
It is no secret that Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov are sworn enemies. However, it seemed like McGregor extended the olive branch towards his arch-rival following the latter's retirement at UFC 254.
Nurmagomedov successfully defended his title for the third time when he submitted Justin Gaethje in the second round of their main event clash at UFC 254. Following the fight, a visibly emotional Nurmagomedov shocked the world by announcing his retirement from MMA.
In a beautiful display of sportsmanship, the Irishman buried the hatchet for once and took to Twitter to congratulate Khabib Nurmagomedov on his retirement and a glorious career.
Good performance @TeamKhabib. I will carry on. Respect and condolences on your father again also. To you and family. Yours sincerely, The McGregors.Published 28 Dec 2020, 23:22 IST