Conor McGregor’s return fight announcement was made today and the fight is scheduled to take place at UFC 246 on January 18th, 2020. This is a great fight for McGregor to take before being thrown right back into a title fight. Stylistically, these two are a great match up as they both have an elite stand up arsenal to utilize. This is a long awaited fight that most fans have been wanting for several years. Finally, we get the fight we wanted. The stakes couldn’t be higher as the number #3 ranked lightweight (McGregor) and #5 ranked lightweight (Cerrone) are set to face off in January.
The Timeline Of Fights Leading Up To The Fight.
The rivalry began back in 2015 at the UFC Go Big Event. Donald Cerrone called out Conor McGregor for bashing the lightweight division. For those who may have forgotten, McGregor mentioned that the division was slow “Stuck in the mud”. Unfortunately, both fighters careers changed trajectories. McGregor at the time was on his last fight in the featherweight division challenging Jose Aldo for the featherweight championship. Donald Cerrone at the time was the ranked #2 and was scheduled to face off against Rafael Dos Anjos (c) for the lightweight championship. McGregor ended up completing the featherweight division sweep by knocking out Aldo inside a few seconds, where as Donald Cerrone got demolished against Dos Anjos inside of the first round which ultimately hurt Cerrone’s stock for a big fight against McGregor.
After the Jose Aldo fight and featherweight division sweep, McGregor would go on to do greater things. McGregor’s first fight against lightweight competition would be against Nate Diaz which turned out to be legendary as the two ended up clashing in two consecutive fights. McGregor fell to Diaz in the first fight by submission but came back and defeated Diaz in the rematch in a five round war. After the Diaz fights, Conor would go on to make history at UFC 205 where he defeated Eddie Alvarez for the lightweight championship becoming the first fighter in UFC history to hold two titles in two different weight classes. It was also the first ever event that the UFC held in NYC at Madison Square Garden. Conor would then go on to challenge Floyd Mayweather in his first ever pro boxing fight where he was defeated in the 10th round by TKO. Things didn’t get easier for McGregor as his return to the octagon ended up being the toughest fight in his career where he got dominated for 4 rounds and then submitted via neck crank against current lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.
While McGregor went on into his own ventures, Donald Cerrone continued doing what he does best, which is fighting. Cerrone is known for being highly active and his resume speaks for itself. After his disappointing loss to Dos Anjos, he found his way back into the winning column defeating and finishing Alex Oliveira (submission), Patrick Cote (TKO), Rick Story (TKO) and Matt Brown (KO). After his 4 fight run, he’d go on to lose 4 of his 5 next fights. Falling to Jorge Masvidal (TKO), Robbie Lawler (Decision), Darren Till (TKO) and Leon Edwards (Decision). Following his loss to Leon Edwards, Cerrone would go on a 3 fight winning streak defeating Mike Perry (Submission), Alexander Hernandez (TKO), Al Iaquinta (Decision). Cerrone currently goes into this fight on a two fight losing streak where he fell to Tony Ferguson (TKO doctor stoppage) and Justin Gaethje (TKO).
The Stakes Are High For Both Fighters
The stakes could be no higher for both fighters. Over the years, both fighters have went back and forth through twitter and trash talking each other in numerous interviews. This is fight that could squash all the talk and put this rivalry to rest. For Cerrone, he’s at the point in his career where he needs to consider hanging it up. This is definitely a fight that will gauge just exactly where he is, as far as his career goes. Its a fight that will come with his largest payday and win, lose or draw it could be a good send off to finally close his incredible career. I also believe that it is certainly his final chance for any championship aspirations if that is what his goal is moving forward.
As for McGregor, theres no room for losing. As he makes his much anticipated return, he cannot afford a loss to Cerrone. In the lead up to this fight, McGregor needs to shake off any ring rust through training camp if possible. This fight will gauge where McGregor fits in the lightweight championship picture. A loss would severely hurt his stock as far as marketability goes. It also completely depends on how the fight ends. Best case scenario is that McGregor goes in there and finishes Cerrone in the early rounds to bury this rivalry once and for all.
The lingering questions going into this fight are “how much does Cerrone have left in the tank?”, “How much ring rust will McGregor have come fight time?” and “Can McGregor bounce back into the title picture with his return?”
What are your thoughts as these two warriors finally get to face off in a much anticipated rivalry fight?
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