Conor McGregor ditches trash talk to smother Donald Cerrone with kindness

Perhaps Conor McGregor really has changed.

No trash talk, a handshake – he even turned up on time.

The former two-weight UFC champion came face to face with Donald Cerrone at a press conference in Las Vegas last night.

"There will be blood spilled on Saturday," McGregor said. "But it won't be bad blood."

The Irishman will return to the octagon for the first time since he was choked out by Khabib Nurmagomedov 15 months ago.

Since then it feels like he has spent more time in a police cell than the cage.

From a speeding fine to the altercation with a fan in Miami to punching a man in a Dublin pub, McGregor's fame has strayed into infamy. Yet despite his new demeanour, he promised to be the same old brand new him.

“I don’t think I’ve changed that much to be honest," he said. “I’m committed, I’m focused and happy to be here. Mostly like I always have been.

“If you ask my family and the people who know me they wouldn’t say I’ve changed.

“I’m still the same young kid I always was, I’m still an aspiring man and reaching for the stars, doing things that haven’t been done before.

“I feel like I’ve turned over a new leaf. I am re-energised and refreshed.”

The one-liners were still on the tip of his tongue as well as he quipped: "I can read Donald like a children's book. He's got some good tricks up his sleeve, but I know the tricks he has."

There was similar respect from Cerrone, a grizzled 50-fight veteran who accepts a fight at the drop of his cowboy hat – then asks who he's fighting.

“I’m looking forward to four or five rounds of battling with this guy," he said.

“Conor is one of the last of a dying breed of fighters and I can’t wait for Saturday night.

“This is the fight I wanted; we are here to entertain and blow the roof off this motherf****** place."

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