There has been a lot of focus recently on a fight between Donald Cerrone and Conor McGregor after the dominating Lightweight return of Cowboy at UFC’s debut show on ESPN against Alexander Hernandez. After this fight there has been a lot of speculation about who Cowboy should fight, many believe that it could and should be Conor, not only because it makes sense but because many believe that nobody deserves the big payday fight more than Cowboy. Let’s take a look at how this fight would actually play out based on previous performances.
McGregor having defeated Max Holloway, Nate Diaz, Eddie Alvarez, Chad Mendes, Dustin Poirier and Jose Aldo. Cowboy having defeated Benson Henderson, Rick Story, Matt Brown, Alexander Hernandez, Melvin Guillard, Edson Barboza, Eddie Alvarez, Charles Oliveira, Jeremy Stephens and Patrick Cote. The experience both men bring to this contest is truly unmatched, for high profile and for the experience.
McGregor is a tremendous striker and his grappling is underrated (controlling of Holloway and his takedown defence from Nate Diaz in the rematch), it isn’t as poor as some would have you believe, however it has been his weakness most exposed. There is a possibility of Conor having a suspect chin as he has been rocked against Nate Diaz and dropped against Khabib Nurmagomedov, two men not known for their power.
People can look at Cowboy as a choke artist as he usually underperforms when he is faced with an opponent in a high stakes fight and there isn’t a bigger fight in MMA than against Conor. Analysing the Darren Till fight could suggest that Cowboy struggles with southpaws with sharp counter cross lefts. You could observe the Rafael dos Anjos fight or Anthony Pettis fight and see that Cowboy does not protect well against lower body strikes to his core. Plenty is known about Cerrone and his weaknesses, let’s look at his strengths. His pressure is off the charts, only really being outperformed by Nate Diaz seven years ago. How does his chin hold up? After taking shots from heavy hitters like Mike Perry, Robbie Lawler and Matt Brown I’d have to believe that he can take the left hand of McGregor, the problem is that Cowboy’s pressure striking leads him to expose his chin, however McGregor is strong at countering from a range (perhaps the very best in the sport), not so much from the pocket. With Cerrone succeeding in taking down bigger people than McGregor like Darren Till and Alex Oliveira one would have to assume that he would be able to take McGregor down as well, and on the ground McGregor would be in trouble. Furthermore, when McGregor tires (which he often does when not controlling the fight) he drops his hands, Cerrone has a highlight of its own of head kick knockouts, and although I believe Cerrone is the stronger striker, he’d be better just to play it safe and look to control McGregor on the ground.
I believe that Cowboy would finally get his true career-defining win in this fight, stopping Conor McGregor within 2 rounds.