The biggest star MMA has ever seen makes his return to the sport next month. Conor McGregor has not fought since losing to Khabib Nurmagomedov for the lightweight title in October 2018. Before that he last fought in MMA all the way back in 2016, when he beat Eddie Alvarez. He’ll now make his return at welterweight to fight UFC veteran Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone’. The 36-year-old is on the tail end of his career after losing back-to-back fights against the very best 155lbs has to offer in Justin Gaethje and Tony Ferguson. He’ll hope to stop the rut when he welcomes the popular Irishman back to the octagon.
This fight will headline UFC 246, which take place on January 18 at the T Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Conor McGregor vs. Donald Cerrone despite taking place at welterweight has huge implications on the lightweight division. Both fighters are at their best at 155lbs but will fight 15lbs above that weight in this one. According to UFC President Dana White this fight is basically a lightweight fight without any weight cutting. With a win the promotions top boss has said he’d look to book McGregor in a rematch at Nurmagomedov. Whilst ‘Cowboy’ will be hoping to upset that plan and earn himself another lucrative fight with one of the biggest money men in sports full stop, never mind MMA.
Away from the brash talk and money-making McGregor is actually an elite level fighter. In his prime he really was untouchable. The Dublin born fighter has world class boxing, especially for MMA. Throughout his career we have seen countless opponents crumble under the weight of his left hand. If he lands it on Cerrone it’ll be interesting to see how the tough American reacts. The only man who’s been able to take it was Nate Diaz, and those two fights came at welterweight, which clearly isn’t McGregor’s best weight class. By taking the fight above his natural fight weight of 155lbs, he’s only making the job harder for himself. Now as well as dealing with some ring rust, he’ll be carrying extra weight against a fighter who has campaigned quite successfully at 170lbs.
‘Cowboy’ may be on a losing streak but he’s ridiculously active and cannot be counted out of this fight. He’ll come in to the bout fresh and ready to put on the fight of his life. The potential rewards for beating McGregor are huge and he’ll understand that. He certainly has the talent to pull off this upset. Cerrone is the owner of some beautiful striking and has routinely put guys away with punches, kicks and elbows throughout his storied career. With 23 wins he has been more successful inside UFC than anyone in history. He’ll want to cement his top spot by derailing McGregors newly formed hype train before it even leaves the station.
Ultimately the Conor McGregor vs Donald Cerrone fight comes down to who shows up on the night. The Irishman has all the money in the world, which makes you wonder. Does he still have the fire to continue fighting? Clearly it has diminished a little otherwise he would have been straight back into camp after losing his last fight in 2018. However, if McGregor does come motivated and at his best I see a routine win for him. He’ll knockout ‘Cowboy’ within two rounds before ripping an epic promo for whoever he wants to fight next. If he’s anything less than his best this could all go wrong. Cerrone will come in throwing shots and looking to take his opponents head off as always. The longer this fight goes on the more you favour him to land something big and become the first man to ever knockout McGregor. This really is a truly exciting fight and all I know is I can’t wait for Jan 18 to see these two men throw down at UFC 246.