Connor McGregor returns to the octagon against Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone, at UFC 246 on January 18th, at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. It’s been over a year now since McGregor last entered the octagon, after losing against Khabib Nurmagomedov, by submission for the lightweight gold in October 2018.
The Irish superstar has been all over the place since his breakthrough jackpot payday of a $100 million during his fight against Floyd Mayweather back in 2017. To top it off, since McGregor’s Tony Montana-esque rise to super stardom, the fighter has faced multiple criminal charges regarding multiple assault altercations, including his most recent stunt of punching an elderly man inside a pub in Ireland.
We see so many great fighters follow the same path. Money tends to change people. One could only say that McGregor’s recent image in the public eye mirrors that of a younger Mike Tyson. Despite this, McGregor has been posting various training bits on Instagram suggesting an imminent return to the world of MMA. However, as McGregor stated best, the fight game is unforgiving and forgetful. The sport has moved passed McGregor. The UFC is no longer solely relying on him to move the needle and sell mega fights. The likes of new emerging stars like current middleweight champion, Israel Adesanya, and current lightweight champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov, have become superstars themselves.
Wittingly, McGregor has played his cards right. By picking a favourable fight for his comeback to raise his stock, the choice could not have been easier than picking fan favourite, “Cowboy” Donald Cerrone. Both fighters are coming off a loss. The history with McGregor and Cerrone can be seen as far back as 4 years ago in 2014, at a press conference, where McGregor and Cowboy traded verbal shots at each other. In classic McGregor fashion, the former double champ said that “It’s red panty night when you sign to fight me”
But Cowboy did not back down as he put forth the argument that “Connor has no right coming to 155. There’s no way, he’s not gonna stand a chance. We’re too big, too strong”
Cowboy went on further to say if him and McGregor fought he would “bend his a** over and knock the Lucky Charms out him”.
The buildup to this fight has been written in stone. It was just waiting for the stars to align. However, the much anticipated fight between the two, since it will take place at 170lbs, and McGregor has almost exclusively fought at only 145lbs and 155lbs. The only time the Irishmen fought at welterweight was both Diaz fights. Based on the first match, moving weight classes costed McGregor an upsetting loss to Diaz, claiming that he was inefficient with his energy. The second match was a 5 round war with McGregor narrowly claiming a controversial decision win. We can only expect McGregor to see the same problems with his struggling cardio. The majority of McGregor’s wins come from a knockout in the early rounds. If Cerrone drags the fight to the later rounds, we could potentially see him suffer the same fate as the Khabib fight. Nonetheless, we have been blessed yet again by the MMA gods for some fantastic trash talking, and a fight that will be a classic for years to come between the Irish head-hunter and the Cowboy from the Wild West.