UFC 246: Conor Mcgregor vs. Donald Cerrone

The sport of MMA has never had a bigger star than Conor McGregor. At 31-years-old the Irishman could sail off into the sunset with his finances and legacy secure. ‘Notorious’ won’t do that, he’ll return to the cage to face Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone at UFC 246 this weekend. The welterweight bout will headline a pay-per-view event, set to take place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Jan 18. It’ll the former dual weight champions first fight since losing to lightweight king Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229 in October 2018. Since then ‘Cowboy’ has competed five times inside the octagon, winning three times. However, he is currently riding a two-fight losing streak, and many have accused McGregor of taking an easy fight, to end his 3-year wait for a win inside the UFC octagon.

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The bookmakers seem to agree with the above notion, just one look at the betting odds tells you as much. ‘Notorious’ is 1/3 to win most betting outlets in the UK and Ireland. Whilst his opponent ‘Cowboy’ is a long shot at 5/2 with the same companies. Not only do the bookies think McGregor will win, they expect him to win in emphatic fashion. The Dublin born fighter is 4/9 to win by knockout and you can get odds as short as 2/1 for him to get this done inside the first round. In comparison Cerrone is 3/1 to win by knockout and 14/1 to get the KO finish in one round. Based off this and fan reaction to the fight you’d think this will be in a walk in the park for McGregor nothings ever simple in MMA.

These two fighters have quite a bit of history. This bout has been in the works since 2015. At the UFC: Go Big press conference McGregor despite being just the interim champion at featherweight went at the 155lbs fighters in attendance, including Cerrone. The Irishman called it the “stuck in the mud division” and said it would be “red panty night” if any of them got the lucrative matchup with him. UFC veteran ‘Cowboy’ didn’t take too kindly to his bravado and the pair traded insults.

Fast forward a year and the two almost ended up fighting each other. After Rafael Dos Anjos pulled out of his scheduled fight with McGregor in 2016, the UFC called round the best guys they could to see who was up for it. Of course, ‘Cowboy’ answered the call and began getting ready for what promised to be an exciting bout. However, his preparations were cut short as UFC President Dana White announced Nate Diaz would be the man to step in to face McGregor on short notice. The Stockton, California fan favourite went on to submit the UFC’s biggest star, sending seismic waves through the MMA world. The pair would go on to enjoy an intense rivalry, that broke records and made each fighter more money than they had dreamed of. It must have been a bitter pill to swallow for Cerrone to miss out on such a life changing opportunity at UFC 196.

It’s now 2020 and Cerrone finally has the fight he has long desired. However the ship may have sailed in terms of his chances of emerging victorious in this one. Back-to-back defeats aren’t the only problem he faces on Saturday. The American is now 36-years-old with a vast fighting career in his rear-view mirror. He’ll enter the octagon this weekend with some advantages, such as weight, activity and his gas tank. However, that won’t be enough to get him a win in this fight. Firstly, he simply doesn’t look the fighter he once was anymore, that much has become clear over his past few fights. But even on his best day Cerrone would struggle against McGregor. Not because the dual weight champion is any more talented, primarily because its just an awful style matchup.

McGregor is a notorious fast starter, with seven UFC wins inside the first two rounds. In contrast Cerrone has been known to start slowly. Throughout his career he has been stopped seven times, six came by knockout and one by submission. Each and every one of them has come inside the first two rounds. If he can survive the early stages of this fight, he’s got a chance to take his opponent into deep water and drown him. But that’s easier said than done. The likelihood is he won’t be able to survive the early goings, and McGregor will get the win with an early knockout at UFC 246. It may even come as early as the first round. Expect the UFC superstar to rip an epic promo on the mic as he goes in search of a rematch with Khabib Nurmagomedov in 2020.