On January 18th, Donald Cerrone will be looking to take on the biggest cattle on the MMA ranch.
Cerrone’s main event bout will potentially put him in the limelight, possibly for the final time in his storied career. He is a fan favourite. He is the Cowboy. Cerrone leads the UFC record books in fights, stoppages, AND wins.
The man who will stand across the octagon from Cowboy is the notorious Conor McGregor–the iconic Irish puncher who is looking to get back in the win column for the first time since 2016.
As an up-and-coming prospect, McGregor set the MMA world alight but with the championships came the fame and money. At this point, “is Conor McGregor still the same fighter he was in 2015?” is not the right question to ask. That Conor is gone. A better question is, “can this older, more experienced McGregor compete with the lightweight elites?”
While Cerrone certainly has his moments, he does tend to be caught by elite strikers and taken out viciously.
Masvidal, Pettis, Gaethje, and Till are all members of the “I KO’d Cowboy” club, (and to be honest the club isn’t too exclusive). Of those strikers, the most concerning has to be Darren Till. Till is an excellent fighter with a very progressive kick-boxing foundation, even if he might lack good head movement. The issue is Till’s variety of attack. He has a very quick and powerful left hand, but it seems to be an overused part of his game plans. And regardless of this seemingly obvious vice, the Cowboy was knocked down and hurt by the straight left.
Hopefully Cowboy’s team looks back at that experience because if they were facing a handgun with Till, they are dealing with a BAZOOKA in Conor. McGregor has made his entire career off of taking heads with his left hand. Taking heads off does mean expending a lot of energy, and that is something McGregor is infamous for. When Conor gasses out his entire demeanour changes. This could be Cowboy’s best shot. If the Cowboy does happen to be standing opposite of a tired Conor, it could be the keystone moment of his career.