By Sean Deacon
The first pay-per view of the year is set to be a big one with the return of the UFC’s biggest superstar in the form of the notorious Conor McGregor. This will be McGregor’s first fight back since his well-documented loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov back in October 2018. In this fight he will return to welterweight where he has fought twice before – in both Nate Diaz’s fights where he lost the first and won the second via a close decision. Eyebrows were razed when the fight was announced to be at welterweight as most of the public thought he was going to make another run for the lightweight title as this is what he was alluding to for the previous months. I don’t think a re-match with Khabib won’t happen in the future, but I think McGregor wants to test himself at this weight and he wants to fight fellow big-name Jorge Masvidal especially after UFC president Dana White has said he is too big for Conor.
McGregor’s opponent is the already certified legend of the sport Donald cowboy Cerone. Cerone has the most wins and finishes in the UFC and is no push over. He is the more well-rounded fighter of the two as he is deadly on the feet just as much on the ground. He definitely has an advantage when it comes to experience in the cage and at welterweight as he had six fights in the division spanning from 2016 to 2018. This fight is the pay day cowboy always deserved and he’s finally getting rewarded for his loyalty to the UFC. He will be looking to probably put the nail in Conor’s career on January 18th as another loss will possibly put him into retirement.
I think the key to winning this fight for cowboy is his ground game. if he can get the fight to the mat it will be over for Conor as he is known for tapping but if the fight stays standing which I think it most likely will, it’s anyone’s contest with cowboy’s precision kicks or the notorious one’s powerful left. The most important part of this fight for Conor will be the first two rounds as he is known for gassing out. This is due to his explosive fighting style and quick pace at the beginning of the fight. So Conor will have to catch cowboy early and knock him out or TKO him with the precise and quick counter punches. On the other side of the cage cowboy is known as a slow starter which is good for Conor but if cowboy survives the early onslaught the fight will start to go into his favor. If he can get some space to start his free-flowing combinations he can punish Conor and the five rounds will be more helpful for him as he has a history of doing better the longer the fight is.
This fight is very divisive amongst fans as most of the hardcore followers want to see Conor lose as they think he is everything wrong with the sport and he gets special treatment, but there is so much to gain if he wins with potential matchups. If he wins there is the exiting fight against Masvidal and even the welterweight strap which he has shown interest in and also the big one – the one that will make all the money the re match with khabib. If cowboy wins nothing will happen except he will get a lot of money and go back to doing what he was doing before – fighting everyone at any time, whereby the fans won’t gain anything.
I personally think Conor will win this fight via KO. He seems more motivated then he has in a long time and wants to fight while cowboy is in the twilight of his career and also on a two-fight losing streak. There’s no doubt that they will put on a good show but the notorious one will come out on top.