Conor McGregor is a lot of things, but “respectful at a press conference” is not one of them.

That changed Wednesday night at the UFC 246 presser in Las Vegas when “The Notorious” was everything but notorious towards his opponent, Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone. McGregor showed nothing but admiration for Cerrone during an unusually quiet news conference, at least for the former two-division champion’s standards.

“I have respect for Donald. He has earned my respect through his activity and through just observing him. He steps up. He goes through divisions. Not many men in the business do that. He’s been around so long… It’s hard not to respect Donald. There’ll be no bad blood here, but there will be blood spilled. Make no mistake about that. That’s the beautiful business we’re in.”

But the Irishman couldn’t let the entire 30-plus minute press conference go by without getting at least one barb in and he did just that when asked about Cerrone’s fighting style.

“I like Donald, he’s a good guy, but I can read Donald like a children’s book to be honest,” McGregor said. “He’s a good fighter, he’s got some good tricks up his sleeve. I know the tricks he has, I know what he’s planning and what he hopes to achieve.”

McGregor hopes this will be the first of many fights during an active 2020. He wants to potentially fight at UFC 248 on March 7 in Las Vegas.

He hasn’t won a fight in 38 months, when he defeated Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205 to become the promotion’s first-ever two-division champion. Since then, the Irishman has had his share of ups and downs outside of the octagon, and has only fought once in the UFC — a submission loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229.

Thumbnail photo via Brian Fluharty/USA TODAY Sports Images