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UFC 246: McGregor vs Cerrone - Jan 18 🇺🇸

Who wins and how?   

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The ideal situation would be Ferguson beating Khabib quite convincingly, then going on to defend the title against the winner of a Conor/Poirier or Conor/Gaethje bout.

Although if McG is serious about 170lbs there's a whole raft of fights there for him, albeit most of them seem pretty unwinnable. Masvidal is probably the most winnable fight for him, and even then that's a bit of a stretch. Outwith that fight you're entering Woodley, Usman and Covington territory, and I don't see Conor doing much against any of those guys.

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On 1/19/2020 at 6:54 AM, David said:

He's very good, especially when he's matched well against someone who's style fits with his.

Could be that our opinion on Conor the person is impacting our opinion on Conor the fighter. He's held 2 UFC titles and is the first person to do that simultaneously. He now has TKO wins across three weight classes. When he beat Aldo, Aldo hadn't lost for 10 years and was in the discussion for P4P #1. He also took Mayweather to 10 rounds. Admittedly in a bit of an exhibition bout, but still. He's done enough to be called better than 'very good' in my opinion.

 

 

 

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5 minutes ago, Chunk said:

Could be that our opinion on Conor the person is impacting our opinion on Conor the fighter. He's held 2 UFC titles and is the first person to do that simultaneously. He now has TKO wins across three weight classes. When he beat Aldo, Aldo hadn't lost for 10 years and was in the discussion for P4P #1. He also took Mayweather to 10 rounds. Admittedly in a bit of an exhibition bout, but still. He's done enough to be called better than 'very good' in my opinion.

I don't think to be honest, I think we've been fair on his abilities for the most part. And it's not a case of picking on him in particular, it's just the kind of game he has. Other fighters with a real strength in one area face similar issues, but the difference between them and Conor is that most of them have to run the gamut of fighters before getting to the top. 

If McGregor had been forced to run the gauntlet of the likes of Jim Miller, Nick Lentz, Al Iaquinta, Kevin Lee and so on there's virtually no way he'd have blasted through all of them. He wouldn't have lost to all of them, but there would certainly have been a few decision losses in there, and maybe even a submission loss or two. 

In this era especially, it's incredibly rare for a striker to be able to come through the crowd unbeaten when they have no real ground game to speak of. McGregor, purely as a fighter, would have run into some problems against those types of fighters, as all pure strikers eventually do. 

It cannot be denied that his drawing power has afforded him an easier path to the top fighters and title shots than fighters who don't draw as much. In reality he has as much right to a rematch with Khabib as Dustin Poirier does. In fact, Poirier probably has a stronger claim than McGregor does. 

Before losing to Khabib Dustin put away Max Holloway, Eddie Alvarez, Justin Gaethje, Anthony Pettis and Jim Miller. 

But McGregor doesn't have to face those potential threats, he gets shifted to the front of the line because he draws eyeballs.

As for the Mayweather fight, Conor lasted as long as Floyd wanted him to. The fight wasn't competitive, and Floyd was essentially playing with him, giving the fans a show for their money. He could have went in there and handled McGregor like he did Tenshin Nasukawa if he'd felt like it.

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3 minutes ago, David said:

I don't think to be honest, I think we've been fair on his abilities for the most part. And it's not a case of picking on him in particular, it's just the kind of game he has. Other fighters with a real strength in one area face similar issues, but the difference between them and Conor is that most of them have to run the gamut of fighters before getting to the top. 

If McGregor had been forced to run the gauntlet of the likes of Jim Miller, Nick Lentz, Al Iaquinta, Kevin Lee and so on there's virtually no way he'd have blasted through all of them. He wouldn't have lost to all of them, but there would certainly have been a few decision losses in there, and maybe even a submission loss or two. 

In this era especially, it's incredibly rare for a striker to be able to come through the crowd unbeaten when they have no real ground game to speak of. McGregor, purely as a fighter, would have run into some problems against those types of fighters, as all pure strikers eventually do. 

It cannot be denied that his drawing power has afforded him an easier path to the top fighters and title shots than fighters who don't draw as much. In reality he has as much right to a rematch with Khabib as Dustin Poirier does. In fact, Poirier probably has a stronger claim than McGregor does. 

Before losing to Khabib Dustin put away Max Holloway, Eddie Alvarez, Justin Gaethje, Anthony Pettis and Jim Miller. 

But McGregor doesn't have to face those potential threats, he gets shifted to the front of the line because he draws eyeballs.

As for the Mayweather fight, Conor lasted as long as Floyd wanted him to. The fight wasn't competitive, and Floyd was essentially playing with him, giving the fans a show for their money. He could have went in there and handled McGregor like he did Tenshin Nasukawa if he'd felt like it.

Sounds like you're judging him on the stuff he hasn't done, rather than the stuff he has done.

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Just now, Chunk said:

Sounds like you're judging him on the stuff he hasn't done, rather than the stuff he has done.

The truth is, it's impossible to judge him as a fighter in the same way we would, say, a Jon Jones or Anderson Silva, because he's not tread the same path as a normal fighter. He's essentially an attraction rather than a proper MMA fighter. He is afforded the ability to pick & choose who he fights, at what weight, and when. And that's fine, but we can't assess his record or achievements alongside other fighters who have travelled the more traditional road. 

That's why I say that he really doesn't need the title fights or even the guys in the top 3 or 5 of whichever division he decides to rock up into next. He could fight another 4 or 5 guys at the same level of Cowboy Cerrone over the next year or two and still come away with a fortune and would still be incredibly popular.

That's not a slight on him by the way, that's just how it is. 

If he goes on a tear in 2020 and faces Gaethje, for example, and after winning that he faces the winner of Khabib vs Tony and wins that, then goes on to defend the title a few times then things would change for sure, but as it is he's an attraction fighter who has fought three times since 2016, and has beaten (admittedly very impressively) a Cowboy Cerrone who was riding a two-fight losing streak heading into the fight, and who's never really managed to hit the heights. 

The win for him was never in doubt really against Cowboy, and we all knew that, yet here we are drinking the Kool Aid after he wins as expected, buying into the hype. Now he's suddenly back in the mix and the doubts about him have been swept away.

Not for me. Cerrone crumbles in fights like this, he always has. McGregor is a very good striker with a middling to mediocre ground game (I'm not buying what Danis says about him being all that on the ground, it's a load of bullshit. I know guys who've grappled with him and they've said he's blue belt level at best in any other gym.) He's tightened up on some of his defensive game as far as wrestling goes, but let's not forget that he got fucking smashed by Khabib in their fight. Absolutely handled and even dropped. Where was the "big left hand" in that fight? Where was the sublime striking? Fucking hell, we saw Al Iaquinta have some success against Khabib on the feet not that long ago, surely someone with Conor's amazeballs striking would have seen some form of tangible success?

Nope, nothing. Why? Because he was up against an elite fighter. Not because he "wasn't ready" as his fanboys are claiming. He just isn't good enough at that level when he's facing guys who are his own size. At 145lbs he got away with it because he was huge for the weight, but at lightweight he's run into problems, which is natural considering his lopsided skillset.

All the talking, all the hype, and all the bullshitting in the world doesn't matter if you can't deliver. There's a ceiling on what he can do in the cage. Simple as that. He's not elite. You strip away all the emperors new clothes and he's a very good MMA level boxer with decent footwork and excellent timing who has, like most British and Irish fighters, a sub-standard ground game.

There's no shame in that. He's not a chump by any stretch, and he's exciting to watch, but let's not get swept up in the bullshit. 

 

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12 hours ago, David said:

If McGregor had been forced to run the gauntlet of the likes of Jim Miller, Nick Lentz, Al Iaquinta, Kevin Lee and so on there's virtually no way he'd have blasted through all of them. He wouldn't have lost to all of them, but there would certainly have been a few decision losses in there, and maybe even a submission loss or two. 

You could have picked a better name than Iaquinta. McGregor would have few problems with him. 

It should be remembered that McGregor beat Mendes. Sure, Mendes had a short camp, but McGregor helped tire Mendes out with kicks to the body and eventually outlasted him. McGregor also could not use his counter striking game as well in that fight because of his ACL injury. Khabib was also made to work hard to get McGregor down to the mat. 

Of course, a Clay Guida or Jim Miller has the game to beat him. They match up with him well. But I don't think McGregor is any more vulnerable to takedowns than Anderson Silva was in his prime. In fact, McGregor probably has a more adaptable striking game than Anderson - given that he can lead as well as counter. 

In short, McGregor is an all-time great in my view. He's a two weight world champ, one of the best strikers in MMA history, and has a very impressive resume of wins. He's not in the same league as GSP or Jones, but who the hell is? 

 

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1 minute ago, jimufctna24 said:

You could have picked a better name than Iaquinta. McGregor would have few problems with him.

We thought the same about Khabib when he faced him as well. Iaquinta is tough as nails, and if Conor hadn't managed to put him away early doors and Al had gotten into that mental pressure game he as who knows what would have happened? I'm simply pointing out that Conor hasn't had to run the gauntlet of fighters that most top guys need to before they hit the heights. 

2 minutes ago, jimufctna24 said:

In short, McGregor is an all-time great in my view. He's a two weight world champ, one of the best strikers in MMA history, and has a very impressive resume of wins. He's not in the same league as GSP or Jones, but who the hell is? 

A two-weight world champion who defended neither belt it must be said. That's a factor for me I'm afraid. If you honestly see him as just a level below the likes of Jon Jones and GSP then fair enough, but I think you're still a bit drunk on the weekends action. Come back and tell me the same if he faces Masvidal next, or Khabib again, and those fights go as expected.

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8 minutes ago, jimufctna24 said:

In short, McGregor is an all-time great in my view. He's a two weight world champ, one of the best strikers in MMA history, and has a very impressive resume of wins. He's not in the same league as GSP or Jones, but who the hell is? 

Likewise, criticizing him for being schooled by Khabib doesn't really say much either. Khabib schools everyone! The fact he struggled to out-wrestle Khabib doesn't prevent you from being able to call him better than 'very good'. Jon Jones would struggle to out-wrestle Khabib and would that change your opinion on Jones?

It's a fair point about him having a carefully curated route to the top but it's worth keeping in mind that that's only true from a certain point in his career. Even then he still took the Diaz fight when he didn't need to. Like Jim says, he also took Mendes on short notice and, at that point, everyone was saying Mendes would handle him easily. The flip side is to say that nobody in the history of MMA (and few even in sport!) have carried the weight of expectation that Mcgregor has. He's had to perform under a spotlight and level of scrutiny and observation that most can only imagine ... and yet he's performed almost every time under those conditions.

Quote

If you honestly see him as just a level below the likes of Jon Jones and GSP then fair enough, but I think you're still a bit drunk on the weekends action

Has nothing to do with the weekend. I'd have said the same a week ago.

Edited by Chunk

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The argument that McGregor is no good against grapplers is a bit simplistic and outdated, IMO. His performance against Mendes would suggest he's got enough defensive wrestling in his locker to be able to hold his own against most fighters. Using Nurmagomedov as an example isn't exactly indicative, seeing as there's probably no MMA fighter on the planet with his wrestling ability - it's his main weapon, and he's honed it to an elite-of-elites level. That McG got obliterated by him makes him no different to most people fighting Nurm.

A match with Masvidal, I think, would definitely be a lot more helpful in giving us an idea of where McG is in the grappling sense. The match against Mendes, whilst disproving he was going to get fucked up against any wrestlers at all, didn't exactly tell us much.

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12 hours ago, David said:

We thought the same about Khabib when he faced him as well. Iaquinta is tough as nails, and if Conor hadn't managed to put him away early doors and Al had gotten into that mental pressure game he as who knows what would have happened? I'm simply pointing out that Conor hasn't had to run the gauntlet of fighters that most top guys need to before they hit the heights. 

He had some very tough opponents on the way up. A young Max Holloway, Poirier, Mendes, etc. 

12 hours ago, David said:

If you honestly see him as just a level below the likes of Jon Jones and GSP then fair enough, but I think you're still a bit drunk on the weekends action. Come back and tell me the same if he faces Masvidal next, or Khabib again, and those fights go as expected.

Eh?

Not in the same league does not just mean "a level below". It's like saying that Stoke City are only a level below Liverpool. I clearly did not make out that McGregor is close to Jones or GSP. 

Khabib beats him 7 or 8 times out of 10. I've not really thought about the Masvidal fight, but I struggle to imagine McGregor getting a result there. Happy? 

Edited by jimufctna24

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12 hours ago, David said:

He's tightened up on some of his defensive game as far as wrestling goes, but let's not forget that he got fucking smashed by Khabib in their fight. Absolutely handled and even dropped. Where was the "big left hand" in that fight? Where was the sublime striking? Fucking hell, we saw Al Iaquinta have some success against Khabib on the feet not that long ago, surely someone with Conor's amazeballs striking would have seen some form of tangible success?

- McGregor defended well against Khabib in the opening round. Much better than others fared. 

- Yes, he got dropped in the 2nd round, but that had a Randleman/Cro Cop vibe to it. In a straight striking bout, Conor would most likely beat Khabib. Likewise, Khabib would massacre Conor in a straight grappling match. Under mixed rules, where both grappling and striking are allowed, things can get a little wild. Wrestlers can feint takedowns, open up a strikers' defence, and then drop them with punches. Which is exactly what Khabib did.

- Of course, under mixed rules, Khabib is the better fighter. Everyone knows this. But that does not mean that Conor is not elite. It just means that there is one fighter better than him in his weight range. Are there more fighters better than him? Possibly so, we will find out in the next few years if he sticks about. 

- McGregor had some success in the third when he put Khabib on the back foot. He probably even won the round. The only fighter to have taken a round off Khabib in the UFC, other than perhaps Tibau. 

Edited by jimufctna24

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Just now, Chunk said:

Likewise, criticizing him for being schooled by Khabib doesn't really say much either. Khabib schools everyone! The fact he struggled to out-wrestle Khabib doesn't prevent you from being able to call him better than 'very good'. Jon Jones would struggle to out-wrestle Khabib and would that change your opinion on Jones?

I would expect an elite-level striker to give Khabib a few problems on the feet though. Remember when Iaquinta was seeing a bit of success and everyone was losing their shit over how Conor and the "big left hand" would get on? I mean, if mid-level, rudimentary Al Iaquinta could score some points on the feet surely McGregor would give Khabib fits in that department? He may not win, with Khabib getting him to ground eventually, but there was one fighter who got dropped in that fight from a punch, and it wasn't who everyone thought it would be.

3 minutes ago, Chunk said:

It's a fair point about him having a carefully curated route to the top but it's worth keeping in mind that that's only true from a certain point in his career. Even then he still took the Diaz fight when he didn't need to. Like Jim says, he also took Mendes on short notice and, at that point, everyone was saying Mendes would handle him easily. The flip side is to say that nobody in the history of MMA (and few even in sport!) have carried the weight of expectation that Mcgregor has. He's had to perform under a spotlight and level of scrutiny and observation that most can only imagine ... and yet he's performed almost every time under those conditions.

Again, strip away the bullshit and look at the facts. Diaz is decent, but he's not elite level by any stretch. He came into the McGregor fight on a 2-3 record. Diaz is entertaining, but there's a very clear blueprint as to how you beat him, and it usually results in him dropping a decision then moaning like fuck about how you didn't stand in front of him and let him hit you. Conor implemented it in their second fight, and well done to him. I actually consider McGregor to be a similar level of fighter as Nate.

Mendes was a very good win, I'll give him that. There were circumstances that played into the fight, and Mendes looked as though he was basically in shape for one round of fighting. He knew he wasn't ready (he's said as much recently), but when you get that kind of offer you don't say no. You take the money and you do what you can. But for Conor you can only beat what's in front of you, so fair play.

Conor did well in that first round to survive the wrestling, but it essentially came down to him being in better shape. Mendes was fucked by round two. 

3 minutes ago, Carbomb said:

The argument that McGregor is no good against grapplers is a bit simplistic and outdated, IMO. His performance against Mendes would suggest he's got enough defensive wrestling in his locker to be able to hold his own against most fighters.

It says a lot about how Conor has been matched that we need to go way back to 2015 to see him matched against someone with proper wrestling chops who isn't named Khabib. I doubt it's a coincidence that he was never really matched against those types of fighters. Even the Mendes fight was kind of stacked in his favour with Chad being nowhere near fight shape and fucked after one round. Styles make fights, and putting a striker in there with a grappler is going to result in problems for the striker maybe 8 times out of 10. 

Again, I don't blame the UFC or Conor for making the fights they did. You obviously want to avoid the chance of defeat as best you can, especially when you're talking about your golden goose. It's the nature of the game, I get it, but at the same time I'm not going to include McGregor in the discussion when it comes to comparing fighters who've had to run the gauntlet of competitors of all types on their way to the top. It simply isn't fair to do that.

10 minutes ago, Carbomb said:

Using Nurmagomedov as an example isn't exactly indicative, seeing as there's probably no MMA fighter on the planet with his wrestling ability - it's his main weapon, and he's honed it to an elite-of-elites level. That McG got obliterated by him makes him no different to most people fighting Nurm.

I'm not really talking about the wrestling game against Khabib, I'm more talking about how his elite-level striking never really factored in whatsoever. Where was the big left hand? You know, the one that was going to put Mayweather to sleep? As I mentioned, we all saw Al Iaquinta give Khabib problems, remember? I recall talk about how Khabib was robotic on the feet, how his striking was bog-standard at best? He has to get the takedown otherwise he's likely getting clipped with McGregor's insane power? I heard a lot about how Conor had a real chance after seeing how Al fared on the feet. If Khabib had trouble with someone like Iaquinta, he'd be in serious trouble if he even tried to stand with someone as elite as McGregor. 

Yet stand with him for a decent chunk of the fight he did, and It actually ended up with Conor getting clipped and dropped. Khabib was never in trouble. 

I keep saying it, I'm not saying McGregor is a chump. He's not. He's a very good MMA level boxer with decent footwork and excellent timing. At 145lbs you could add size to those attributes as well. On his day he could give most fighters trouble, and beat them as well. but those fighters don't include the proper top of the tree competitors.

He's simply not good enough to beat a Khabib, or an Usman. Or even a Ferguson or a Woodley. He hasn't got the skillset to beat that level of fighter. He's just not at that level.

For me he's fought two guys that I'd consider proper elite fighters. He caught Aldo brilliantly with that opening shot, and all the credit to him for that. Against Kahbib not only was his wrestling not good enough (as expected, and much like everyone else Khabib has fought) but his striking amounted to fuck all as well. 

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12 hours ago, David said:

I would expect an elite-level striker to give Khabib a few problems on the feet though. Remember when Iaquinta was seeing a bit of success and everyone was losing their shit over how Conor and the "big left hand" would get on? I mean, if mid-level, rudimentary Al Iaquinta could score some points on the feet surely McGregor would give Khabib fits in that department? He may not win, with Khabib getting him to ground eventually, but there was one fighter who got dropped in that fight from a punch, and it wasn't who everyone thought it would be.

Khabib has a very good jab. Conor, at the least, was able to deal with it for a round or so, and even win the round. Iaquinta didn't take round off Khabib, and had a harder time dealing with the latter's jab. I also got the impression that Khabib had injured his hand in the latter stages of the Iaquinta fight. 

MMA Math does not really work either. Cerrone beat Iaquinta quite comfortably. Whereas McGregor beat Cerrone in 40 seconds. That would imply that McGregor is another galaxy to Iaquinta, and draw your comparison between McGregor and Iaquinta into question. Styles make fights. 

The rest of your paragraph is just a rant against the annoying McGregor fanboys that pollute Twitter. I don't see any of the like on here. 

Edited by jimufctna24

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6 minutes ago, David said:

It says a lot about how Conor has been matched that we need to go way back to 2015 to see him matched against someone with proper wrestling chops who isn't named Khabib. I doubt it's a coincidence that he was never really matched against those types of fighters. Even the Mendes fight was kind of stacked in his favour with Chad being nowhere near fight shape and fucked after one round. Styles make fights, and putting a striker in there with a grappler is going to result in problems for the striker maybe 8 times out of 10. 

Again, I don't blame the UFC or Conor for making the fights they did. You obviously want to avoid the chance of defeat as best you can, especially when you're talking about your golden goose. It's the nature of the game, I get it, but at the same time I'm not going to include McGregor in the discussion when it comes to comparing fighters who've had to run the gauntlet of competitors of all types on their way to the top. It simply isn't fair to do that.

Two things:

1. Doesn't really matter when we go back to - he's hardly likely to have regressed from what he had back then, even a degenerate like him. But like I said, the match showed us he wasn't utterly vulnerable to a wrestler like people were making out at the time. And, as you say, the Mendes match had some very specific caveats going into it that meant we were never going to get a clear picture of where McGregor is in the grappling stakes, just like the Nurmagomedov match tells us nothing because he beats pretty much everyone.

2. I completely agree with you that he had, as Chunk put it, a curated run up, because UFC wanted to keep their cash cow running. I never said otherwise - my post was purely about his ability as a fighter against wrestlers, mainly because it's a debate we've had so many times.

Bear in mind, I still can't stand the fucker either way.

6 minutes ago, David said:

I'm not really talking about the wrestling game against Khabib, I'm more talking about how his elite-level striking never really factored in whatsoever. Where was the big left hand? You know, the one that was going to put Mayweather to sleep? As I mentioned, we all saw Al Iaquinta give Khabib problems, remember? I recall talk about how Khabib was robotic on the feet, how his striking was bog-standard at best? He has to get the takedown otherwise he's likely getting clipped with McGregor's insane power? I heard a lot about how Conor had a real chance after seeing how Al fared on the feet. If Khabib had trouble with someone like Iaquinta, he'd be in serious trouble if he even tried to stand with someone as elite as McGregor. 

Yet stand with him for a decent chunk of the fight he did, and It actually ended up with Conor getting clipped and dropped. Khabib was never in trouble. 

I keep saying it, I'm not saying McGregor is a chump. He's not. He's a very good MMA level boxer with decent footwork and excellent timing. At 145lbs you could add size to those attributes as well. On his day he could give most fighters trouble, and beat them as well. but those fighters don't include the proper top of the tree competitors.

He's simply not good enough to beat a Khabib, or an Usman. Or even a Ferguson or a Woodley. He hasn't got the skillset to beat that level of fighter. He's just not at that level.

For me he's fought two guys that I'd consider proper elite fighters. He caught Aldo brilliantly with that opening shot, and all the credit to him for that. Against Kahbib not only was his wrestling not good enough (as expected, and much like everyone else Khabib has fought) but his striking amounted to fuck all as well. 

Again: I was talking purely about the wrestling argument you were making. I'm not a McG fanboy. I really don't see how going on about Nurmagomedov negates that, and personally I have no clue as to why McG didn't do better against him in light of what we saw from Iaquinta. His "big left hand" is clearly a load of bollocks, but to claim it's all smoke and mirrors is to completely ignore his previous results.

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2 minutes ago, jimufctna24 said:

Khabib has a very good jab. Conor, at the least, was able to deal with it for a round or so, and even win the round. Iaquinta didn't take round off Khabib, and had a harder time dealing with the latter's jab. I also got the impression that Khabib had injured his hand in the latter stages of the Iaquinta fight. 

MMA Math does not really work either. Cerrone beat Iaquinta quite comfortably. Whereas McGregor beat Cerrone in 40 seconds. That would imply that McGregor is another galaxy to Iaquinta, and draw your comparison between McGregor and Iaquinta into question. Styles make fights. 

The rest of your paragraph is just a rant against the annoying McGregor fanboys that pollute Twitter. I don't see any of the like on here. 

The whole crux of this little back & forth was someone taking umbrage at me referring to Conor as "very good."

I've stated my reasoning for thinking that he's "very good" as opposed to elite. To rise above the "very good" standard I need a fighter to be a great all-round MMA fighter or someone who's strongest facet is so sublime that it pretty much factors into every fight they take part in. Like Khabib or Usman with their grappling for example. Otherwise an elite fighter for me is someone like a Tony Ferguson, who's cutting you up on the feet and tying you in knots on the floor, or Mighty Mouse who's outstanding in all aspects of the game. The elite level is rarified airspace. Few fighters rise to that level, and even fewer make it to the legendary all-time great status.

I mentioned that I put Conor in the Nate Diaz type of bracket, where his one outstanding skill is very effective in certain types of match ups. That, for what its worth, is where I place probably 99% of fighters. I have no doubt that had McGregor not had a curated pathway to where he is today he'd have won some, and lost some.

He'd be very good.

 

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