Conor McGregor's 40-second stoppage over Donald Cerrone last weekend at UFC 246 was nothing short of spectacular, but it got people wondering what the hell happened to "Cowboy."
While the UFC veteran came into his main event tilt opposite McGregor as a significant underdog, Cerrone's track record and innate fighting ability were supposed to help close the gap, especially considering the bout was McGregor's first in 15 months and contested at 170 pounds. That wasn’t the case, though, as “Notorious” swarmed Cerrone from the opening bell, battered him with shoulder strikes, landed an insane head kick, and soon after forced the referee’s hand with combinations galore.
The outcome of the fight may not have been something fight fans expected, or even paid for, but it proved yet again that McGregor knows how to come though in the big spotlight. Cerrone, on the other hand, is still trying to figure that out, which was pointed out by long-time MMA coach Ray Longo in a recent appearance on Anik & Florian podcast (transcript by MMA News).
“Man I gotta say, I have no idea besides the fact that what I saw is just a guy that looked like he froze up,” Longo said. “I mean he slips the left hand. I would’ve thought just instinctively, that guy ends up on his back. I mean he almost went over him.
“And then he got hit with a couple of shoulder bumps, which is definitely nothing new. Instead of kneeing or elbowing, I don’t know what he did. You’d have to ask him what was going on. It looked like he just froze up to me.”
Cerrone, who holds the UFC record for most fights, wins, finishes, and post-fight bonuses, was expected to bring the fight to McGregor and turn their main event clash into a dirty brawl. Many MMA pundits even believed “Cowboy” could abandon his world-class striking game to take McGregor down and stifle him with grappling. Cerrone didn’t have much time to react to anything, but fans still expected a little more output from the future UFC Hall of Famer.
“Fight IQ, obviously. I think, Kenny, there was no fight IQ,” said Longo. “I don’t know what he did.”
Things will be said about Cerrone’s performance, or the lack thereof, but nothing should be taken away from McGregor’s 40-second TKO finish. The former UFC featherweight and lightweight champion was coming off a submission loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov 15 months earlier, hadn’t won inside of the Octagon since 2016, was fighting for just the third time at 170 pounds, and escaped UFC 246 without one scratch on his head.
That sort of dominance from McGregor demands our respect, whether or not Cerrone failed to deliver on his end.
For complete UFC 246 results and coverage click here.