UFC 246: McGregor vs Cerrone Big Fight Preview & Prediction
It’s not been a typical Conor McGregor fight week, the bad blood and the trash talk has been replaced by a tone of humility and respect.
After that highly toxic and uncomfortable build-up to UFC 229, this fight week has been a welcome and much-needed change. The road to redemption will be a long one, but his journey has begun.
A grudge match admittedly adds spice to the proceedings, but when that spice leaves an unsavoury taste and crosses that ever-decreasing line of acceptance, all parties need to forget about generating additional PPV revenue and take a moral look at what they are doing to promote a fight.
McGregor is most certainly on a mission to recover some of his damaged reputation, and the change in his demeanour has been a breath of fresh air after what we have seen in recent years.
The media obligations have been done with seemingly genuine love, a feeling of being back to where he belongs and away from all the chaos that has engulfed his life recently. The solitude of a training camp has given McGregor what he so badly needs, focus and happiness.
Talk of what happens next for McGregor is a little disrespectful to his UFC 246 opponent Donald Cerrone. Like many, I did wonder if Cerrone was happy just to be here, but I think it’s more genuine excitement at finally getting a fight with McGregor. Cerrone is most certainly here to win.
There seems genuine respect between the two fighters, but despite the mutual appreciation society, the action in the cage will not suffer because of it. Both are fighters to the core, nobody will leave the T-Mobile Arena disappointed.
McGregor, on the surface at least, looks completely different to when we last saw him. Happy, content, and relishing the prospect of a return to his roots.
A recent admission about his training camp for his grudge fight with Khabib Nurmagomedov was telling. An admittance that he was drinking throughout and also going missing from the gym for days, tells a sorry story, but in retrospect hardly a surprising one.
McGregor at times looked like he was on a mission to oblivion, but he seems as though he finally now knows he needs to stop the slide to self-destruction.
There seems to be genuine unity within his team that McGregor has prepared properly, and is ready, he needs to be.
Cerrone is more than capable of winning, and must not be viewed as just the opponent. Cerrone says he will stand and test the striking skills of McGregor, maybe, but I’m not convinced. Despite the talk, Cerrone must know his best chance of winning is by doing the exact opposite to what he is saying.
As one journalist said, Cerrone needs to think more about winning rather than wanting to entertain.
Despite being the heavy betting favourite, there are still big questions McGregor needs to answer. A lot has been said about the fight being at welterweight, much of it has been brushed off as irrelevant, wrongly in my opinion.
The carefully edited training footage of McGregor has been widely praised, I think it’s inconclusive. McGregor has weighed in bang on the welterweight limit, speed sacrificed for the additional power and strength he thinks he will need as he tests the welterweight waters.
Remember when McGregor said precision beats power.
At lightweight, the odds would be wider, and I would be more confident of the so-called McGregor season starting with a win. Cerrone without having to boil his body will be much more difficult to get rid of.
McGregor went all out for the stoppage in the first fight with Nate Diaz, he must not make the same mistake again, energy consumption could be the key. McGregor wants to make a statement, he just needs to win, patience and the left hand will need to join forces.
The power at the higher weight doesn’t seem to be the same, Cerrone the supposed fall guy may not fall with just one shot.
Despite my concerns over the weight, and the considerable skills of Cerrone, it’s very hard to pick against McGregor. I think he will find the punches he needs, probably in round two, but every second the fight lasts, the McGregor season risks ending before it has begun.