Who Will Win at UFC 246 – Conor McGregor or Donald Cowboy Cerrone?

December 9, 2019

The expected main event for UFC 246 will mark the return of one of the biggest superstars of the sport. Conor “The Notorious” McGregor is due to step into the hallowed Octagon for the first time in 15 months when he takes on Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone at the T-Mobile Arena in Paradise, Nevada on January 18, 2020.

And mixed martial arts fans all over the world have one question on their minds these days. Who will come out on top in this much-anticipated contest? This piece will take an in-depth look at the chances of either fighter securing victory in the first PPV of 2020.

Undiminished Global Appeal

He may not have been anywhere near a UFC Octagon since his submission loss to the reigning UFC Lightweight Champion Khabib Nurmagomedov in October, 2018, but that hasn’t diminished McGregor’s appeal within the UFC and wider MMA circles. He remains the biggest PPV draw ever for the UFC and is one of most notable athletes in the world.

With his superstar status in no doubt whatsoever, it’s the former two-division UFC champ’s recent record inside the Octagon that has everyone wondering whether he has still got it. In the year before the loss to Nurmagomedov, McGregor’s only competitive outing was against boxing great Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Both these encounters were box office sensations. In North America, the McGregor-Mayweather showdown brought in 4.3 million buys on PPV while the McGregor-Nurmagomedov clash drew 2.4 million. While the Irish mixed martial artist came off worse in both bouts, he certainly raked in the big bucks.

The more important thing to consider is that McGregor is actually winless on the MMA circuit for the past three years. It was at UFC 205 in November, 2016 that he last tasted success. That night, he got the better of Eddie Alvarez to capture the UFC Lightweight Championship and become the promotion’s original “champ-champ”.

The Cowboy Challenge

Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone is quite a popular UFC journeyman. But he is no pushover, even if he comes into this fight off the back of two straight losses. And the brazen Irishman will have to handle Cerrone if he wants to extend his stint as one of UFC’s top men. All the talk leading up to this battle is about whether or not McGregor’s still got it.

At 31, he probably isn’t the same fighter that he was a few years ago. But the class and skill needed to beat a skidding 36-year-old is surely still there. Cerrone, a former undefeated professional kickboxer, is a much-loved figure on the UFC circuit. However, he has 13 career losses in mixed martial arts and has suffered defeat in 6 of the 10 bouts he has been in since the beginning of 2017. All things considered, McGregor would certainly go into the contest as the favorite.

A Clash of Styles

Of the two brawlers, McGregor has a more stand-up style whereby he relies on his lethal striking ability and long reach to subdue the opponent. He doesn’t prefer dueling on the ground and looks to end fights as quickly as possible with a sharp left hand. There is no better example of this than his 13-second KO of former UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo in 2015.

On the other hand, Cerrone will look to get the Notorious one on the mat as this is where his best chance of success lies. With McGregor out of his comfort zone on the ground, the Cowboy can use his durability and vast arsenal of physical tools to make his opponent tap out.

This is exactly how McGregor lost his previous two fights, against Nurmagomedov in 2018 and Nate Diaz two years before that. Simply put, Cerrone needs to knock him off his game by making things as messy as possible. Of course, this is easier said than done (just ask Alvarez and Aldo).

Standing up, McGregor will surely be quicker with his hands as well as feet. This should enable him to resist any takedown attempts from Cerrone and also punish him every time he makes the move inside. The more counter lefts that the Dublin-born mixed martial artist is able to land, the quicker the bout is likely to end.

Even if it goes the distance, it will be good news for McGregor because he would have successfully avoided a brawl on the mat. At the same time, his superior striking ability and long reach will allow him to land more shots.

So, who will win at UFC 246 – Conor McGregor or Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone? Our money’s on the former Irish “champ-champ.”

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