2020 could be UFC’s most lucrative year and Conor McGregor will again be the protagonist
Conor on a UFC PPV guarantees big money, such is his star power. UFC needed Conor to win on Sunday. But with such a massive performance, Conor’s has increased the anticipation for his comeback.Updated: Jan 19, 2020 18:25 IST
If there was any doubt regarding Conor McGregor’s fighting ability in his return then all those concerns have been allayed by his performance in the UFC 246 main-event. It took just 40 seconds for ‘The Notorious’ to knock out ‘Cowboy’ Donald Cerrone in his comeback fight. It was an exhibition in striking from McGregor as he showed a wide range of punches and kicks to finish the fight.
The crowd was absolutely electric in the anticipation of the fight. And McGregor did not disappoint them with yet another first-round knockout. Cerrone went for a clinch right at the start and it backfired big time.
First, the knee struck Cowboy’s head and Conor gave him the ‘cold shoulder’. Cowboy was trying to slow down the match-up but he struck three precision shoulder strikes which rattled Cerrone. It was a prelude to the end for Donald.
Conor hit 19 strikes in only 40 seconds as Cerrone failed to recognise what hit him. High kick, jumping knee and a few left hand ‘bombs’ were enough for McGregor to stake his claim in the UFC again.
Watch Conor’s 40-second fight here:-
It was McGregor’s first fight in 15 months and he had promised that he will put on a fighting clinic in Las Vegas. That is exactly what happened as he landed unique shoulder barges, a head kick, jumping knee and his patented left-hand strikes to finish Cerrone.
Conor on a UFC PPV guarantees big money, such is his star power. UFC needed Conor to win on Sunday. But with such a massive performance, Conor’s has increased the anticipation for his comeback.
He was determined to prove his doubters wrong and he made that statement absolutely clear. He even took a potshot at MMA critics who were skeptical of his skills ahead of the fight.
“The so-called experts of the game when they break down my skill-set, they say I’m just a fighter with a left hand, which is highly disrespectful and uneducated,” McGregor said.
“I knew he was planning to knock me out with a head kick. I knew this is what Donald would have been envisioning. ... But at the same time, I know that Donald has many discrepancies in his game, with the leans and dips under certain attacks that can also set him up for the high kick. So the high kick was something I thought I could catch him with, also.”
Even UFC boss Dana White was left in awe of his performance.
“He looked unbelievable. He won’t hear another peep from me about fighting at 170,” White said. “He looked fast, he looked sharp, he looked strong. It was all about Conor. It has nothing to do with Cowboy being shot or anything like that.”
Such was McGregor’s dominance that Cerrone could not even land a single strike against him. With this victory, McGregor now has finishes in three UFC divisions -- featherweight, lightweight and welterweight, which is a record.
“Etch my name in history one more time,” said McGregor.
He is going to be back. Whenever he makes his return to the Octagon, a lot of cash flow will happen at the UFC headquarters. UFC 246 is a success. UFC 247 is also going to do decent numbers due to Jon Jones. UFC 248 is one of the most awaited events of the year with Khabib and Tony Ferguson taking on each other. Then Conor will return and his next fight will be big. Mayweather and Masvidal, both are hoping Conor will choose them. One thing is guaranteed UFC is going to make big bucks.
Now the big question remains- Who will Conor fight next? Is it going to be Khabib, Jorge Masvidal or Floyd Mayweather? McGregor has promised that he is going to be active in 2020 and is ready ‘light up the whole world.
“I’m excited about the future,” McGregor said afterward.
“I’m not going to dwell on this victory. It’s back in the gym and back to work. Who is next doesn’t matter, the ‘when’ is more interesting. The whole world lights up when I fight, so I want to get back out there again. Soon enough, we’ll see what happens.”
Before the fight, McGregor had admitted that he is on standby if anything goes wrong in the UFC 248 main-event but is also looking at the BMF title. So nothing is guaranteed except his legendary status in MMA folklore.