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Journalism Showcase: ESPN Blankets Las Vegas For UFC 246: McGregor vs. “Cowboy”

ESPN's MMA Insider Ariel Helwani talks about his interview with UFC star Conor McGregor, who battles Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone tomorrow on ESPN+ PPV

Tomorrow, UFC’s biggest star, Conor McGregor, makes his return to the Octagon in UFC 246, when he faces perennial fan favorite and UFC’s all-time leader in wins and finishes, Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone.

The event, UFC’s first card of the year, marks the one-year anniversary of UFC on ESPN+ and ESPN.

ESPN has been on site in Las Vegas for fight week, with wall-to-wall coverage from the South East corner of Caesars Palace, Beer Park and the Pearl Theater at the Palms Casino and Resort and, on Saturday, at T-Mobile Arena.

By fight night, fans will have had the opportunity to meet both fighters through exclusive in-depth and extensive features from ESPN’s MMA Insiders, Ariel Helwani, Brett Okamoto and Marc Raimondi.

Helwani, who has covered McGregor since his UFC debut and interviewed him in Las Vegas earlier this week, shares his approach to storytelling with Front Row:

How do you interview a fighter that is coming off a long layoff?
Same as any interview, really. The biggest question is how much time will we get and will be able to cover everything we want to in that time. So, it kind of feels like a race against the clock, but as far as the prep goes, it’s all about staying on top of things. I have been waiting for this interview since the last time we spoke in August [2019].

How do you think he has evolved as a fighter?
He was first on my show seven years ago. I actually watched that first interview again recently for fun and it’s amazing how similar he is to the man now. Of course, the big difference is back then he was talking about not having any money and now he has, what he calls, “forever money,” but his mindset and approach to fighting is the same. The big story going into this fight is how happy he seems to be back and how much he appreciates this second chance.

ESPN SVP, Original Content, Rob King participated in this Poynter panel

– Molly Mita

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