Conor McGregor Beats Donald Cerrone by TKO
The return of the Mac was a roaring success. After 15 months away from the Octagon, Conor McGregor showed absolutely no signs of rust as he stopped Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone within just 40 seconds to win by technical knockout in the main event of UFC 246.
It was another sensational performance for McGregor, who bounced back after back-to-back losses, first to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in their much-hyped boxing bout, and then to Khabib Nurmagomedov in their UFC lightweight title fight.
For anyone who forgot just how devastating a mixed martial arts fighter McGregor was, The Notorious one couldn’t have come up with a more emphatic reminder — at the expense of poor Cowboy.
Highlights of the game
Prior to the fight, Conor McGregor predicted a knockout victory over Cerrone. On one hand, McGregor is no stranger to making such bold predictions. But on the other, it wasn’t hard to see why he was so confident in making some UFC 246 highlights.
On paper, Cerrone was quite an ideal matchup for McGregor. Whereas Khabib’s elite wrestling was always going to give McGregor problems, Cowboy’s aggressive stand-up style seemingly played right into McGregor’s strengths.
In theory, Cerrone has a capable jiu-jitsu game which he could utilise to try and submit McGregor. But he didn’t seem all too interested in taking the Irishman down; instead, he was content to keep it on the feet, where it would make for a more exciting fight.
And so it all proved after just a few seconds of the fight. As the two came together in the opening exchanges, McGregor missed on a big left hand. But he gets Cerrone into a clinch and seemingly breaks Cowboy’s nose with some nasty shoulder strikes.
With Cowboy bloodied and backing up within mere seconds, McGregor didn’t waste time to go for the kill. He landed a vicious head kick that further wobbled Cerrone. McGregor then began to swarm on Cowboy, who was struggling at that point.
Referee Herb Dean gave Cerrone ample opportunity to recover, but McGregor never gave him the opportunity to do so. He continued to land hard punches on the grounded Cerrone until Dean had no choice but to step in and end the fight after just 40 seconds.
In those 40 seconds, McGregor showcased why he is among the most dangerous fighters in MMA. He displayed his creativity with those shoulder strikes, as well as his accuracy and power with that devastating head kick and subsequent punches which stopped the fight.
It just so happened that Cerrone was in many ways the perfect opponent for McGregor to showcase those elite striking skills. As McGregor came over to console Cerrone after the fight was stopped, it seemed as if he was thanking Cowboy for allowing such a fight to take place.
But still, it was an impressive performance from The Notorious on his return to the Octagon.
Anyone who watched the fight saw just how one-sided it was, and the statistics also bore that out. McGregor landed 19 significant strikes to zero from Cerrone.
With that win, McGregor has become the first UFC fighter to record knockouts in three separate divisions — featherweight, lightweight, and welterweight.
Of his 22 career wins, 19 have been by knockout. And of his 11 UFC wins, eight have been by TKO. It was his second-quickest UFC win after his amazing 13-second KO out Jose Aldo to claim the UFC Featherweight Championship.
With all due respect to Cowboy, there are much bigger fish to fry in McGregor’s future after this fight. Although, it remains to be seen which sport McGregor will be fighting in next. He has talked about the possibility of fighting champion boxer Manny Pacquiao, and a potential rematch with Mayweather might still be on the table.
And in the UFC, the most likely fight he could take next is the winner of the Khabib Nurmagomedov-Tony Ferguson lightweight title bout scheduled in April. A fight with Jorge Masival is also a possibility. While a rematch with Khabib would no doubt be the more marketable fight, it’s one that McGregor will be unlikely to win.
But whatever fight he accepts next, McGregor is almost sure to be handsomely paid, not to mention right back in the spotlight as he was in this fight against Cerrone. He remains the biggest draw in the UFC and his every move will be eagerly anticipated.
As for Cerrone, the 36-year-old has now lost three consecutive fights, all via TKO. Although, his loss to Tony Ferguson was due to doctor’s stoppage. His days of being a title contender appear to be long over, but it doesn’t appear as if he’s ready to hang up his gloves just yet.
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