McGregor vs Cerrone Looks Off
By Ross Markey
The supposed high-profile meeting of two of the most exciting and popular figures in the UFC has reportedly been scuppered; former two weight world champion ‘The Notorious’ Conor McGregor was expected to return to action this summer in a lightweight clash with Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone. But according to promotion president Dana White, the planned match up is dead in the water. Months of speculation from both men led us to believe that we would finally be treated to one of the most exciting and fan friendly meetings of the minds in the Octagon in 2019 but it seems the opportunity has been and gone.
Upon his unsuccessful attempt to regain the lightweight champion from undefeated wrestler Khabib Nurmagomedov, polarizing contender Conor McGregor was forced back to the drawing board as he looked to build up a head of steam to spearhead another potential title clash. Contenders such as former Interim champion Tony Ferguson and former foes Dustin Poirier and Nate Diaz where the expected front runners, but after Denver favourite Cerrone returned to 155lbs where he established a two fight win streak, the potential McGregor match up looked likely. After a huge head kick stoppage of rising prospect Alexander Hernandez, ‘Cowboy’ received plaudits from the Dubliner who agreed to face him; “For a fight like that Donald, I’ll fight you. Congratulations”.
The pairing was also slated for UFC 196 when then champ Rafael dos Anjos was forced out with a broken metatarsal with the seed initially planted all the way back before UFC 194 at the infamous ‘Go Big’ press conference. The UFC brass elected to go with Nate Diaz instead… the rest is history as they say. The most winningest fighter in the game was obviously down for a clash with McGregor. Taking to Instagram, the former Jackson-Wink stalwart promised to toast McGregor as the pair’s press conference. Just last week is seemed we had a date set for the meeting, and even a venue. International Fight Week takes place on July 6th this year from the T-Mobile arena, and according to Donald, this would be the battleground for two of the sport’s most iconic figures. ‘Cowboy’ was billing this clash as Budweiser vs. Proper Twelve.
Speaking with former UFC heavyweight contender and stand up comedian Brendan Schaub on the Joe Rogan Experience, the UFC colour commentator suggested McGregor subsequently refused the clash after learning it would be a three round co-main event.
The current narrative seems to be that PPV events should feature at least one title fight, definitely in the main event, but forcing the sport’s biggest ever draw to play second fiddle because he doesn’t currently hold a title is quiet a bone headed decision, considering how McGregor and Nate Diaz headlined both UFC 196 and UFC 202 without a title up for grabs.
UFC head honcho Dana White is now said to be looking for other opponents for ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone who is eager to return to action, and could be welcomed back by #4 ranked lightweight contender Al Iaquinta. White also told how he believed McGregor would fight again in the fall of 2019.