Every time Conor McGregor fights it’s an occasion. The Irishman is one of the most volatile figures on the roster, but he remains the sport’s only true superstar. Love him or hate him he’s here to stay. McGregor will fight Donald Cerrone in February 2020. The pair will headline UFC 246 in a rare non-title fight main event.
The rules change for ‘The Notorious.’ It’s as simple as that. Many people are confused because he’s making his return at welterweight. However, Ariel Helwani believes it all makes perfect sense. He’s reported that McGregor is planning on fighting three times in 2020.
He also believes that the Irishman’s game plan is perfect. Only time will tell whether MMA’s biggest-nosed journalist is correct.
Now that MMA is mainstream, Helwani has been reporting to the masses what McGregor is planning. He explained on ESPN that the Irishman is focused on fighting because it keeps him out of trouble. Considering that he’s reportedly under investigation for sexual assault, that’s a big statement. Helwani explained:
”Okay, so he has laid out this plan that he wants to fight three times next year. And he hasn’t done that in over three years as well, so it’s a pretty lofty goal. But he believes that when he is active, then he’s not getting distracted, he’s not getting in trouble. He’s very focused. And people are telling me right now that they haven’t seen him this focused in a very long time.”
The narrative is that McGregor no longer has the hunger or passion to win. Of course, earning $100 million against Floyd Mayweather will do that. But he wants the world’s respect. Allegedly, he wants another welterweight fight before a rematch with Khabib. We’re not exactly sure how that works. Anyway, Helwani said:
”You hear this a lot in the fight game, but he’s going to sleep early, he’s waking up early. He wants to prove to everyone that thinks he’s shot that they are wrong. So he wants to fight January 18th – in fact, he wanted to fight in December but the UFC didn’t give him that opportunity. So he wanted to fight at the beginning of the year, then he wants to return towards spring (or) summer, maybe fight Jorge Masvidal or Nate Diaz.”
Before he fights Diaz or Masvidal he has to beat Donald Cerrone. McGregor is the overwhelming favourite and if it was at lightweight we’d agree. However, ‘Cowboy’ has far more experience at welterweight than the Irishman. He’s also taller. If ‘The Notorious’ doesn’t finish this fight early then he could be in a world of trouble.
He gassed out in both 170lb fights with Nate Diaz which is dangerous against Cerrone. ‘Cowboy’ is notorious for starting slow and then picking up the pace. You’d expect a prime McGregor to beat him. But right now the Irishman is somewhat of an unknown quantity.
Furthermore, Cerrone has fought an incredible five times since McGregor last stepped into a cage. This is not a man you want to have ring rust against.