Will Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone stand and trade with Conor McGregor at UFC 246?
Or does Cerrone planning to do the most logical thing in the fight which would be shooting for the takedown as soon as humanly possible against the 31-year-old UFC star returning from hiatus?
That’s what ESPN’s Brett Okamoto asked Cerrone in a recently released video ahead of the biggest fight of the 36-year-old American’s career this weekend at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Pragmatically speaking, the answer about Cerrone’s plans might surprise you.
“You know probably should, but I don’t think I will,” said Cerrone. “I like to fight, too. you know. I like to get in there and throw down.”
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McGregor is 21-4 over the course of his MMA career with all four losses coming via submission. Additionally, both of his losses in the UFC happened that way, including when the megastar was choked out by Nate Diaz at UFC 189 in 2015 and done the same way by Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229 in 2018.
So why on earth would Cerrone, a fighter who has scored more submissions (17) than knockouts (10) in his career, want to test trade strikes with McGregor?
“Everyone says his standup is amazing, so why not go and test it?” said Cerrone.
Cerrone seems intent on proving his mettle against McGregor. While nobody who has followed Cerrone’s fighting career would argue he needs to do that at this point, it’s the type of attitude that has helped make Cerrone one of the most popular UFC stars in the world today, at least among the group of fighters who have never won a UFC championship.
Admittedly, Cerrone told Okamoto he understands the prevailing viewpoint among fans that says he should shoot for the takedown early in the fight and get McGregor onto the mat.
“Everyone says, you wanna just stand there, you’re gonna get knocked out,” said Cerrone. “That’s such a stupid gameplan, such a stupid decision.”
But if you plan on engaging the fighter about the matter ahead of his huge chance this weekend against McGregor, don’t even think about challenging his planned approach.
“But it’s my decision,” said Cerrone. “It’s my stupidity. Who the f–ck are you to tell me what I should do? You know?”
Cerrone said no matter what happens at UFC 246, he knows headed into the fight what kind of fighter he is, and he’ll know the same thing when he’s finished.
“I know who I am,” said Cerrone. “I look in the mirror and I know exactly who I am, so I get to go [into the fight] and make the decision I want.”
For Cerrone, there really isn’t any other choice but to stand there and trade with one of the best pure strikers in UFC history.
“Why wouldn’t I want to stand with one of the best?” said Cerrone. “Why not?”
But a word to the wary who believe Cerrone is going into the fight not believing he can win it that way. On the contrary, Cerrone likes his chances.
In fact, the main event at UFC 246 will come down to two basic questions in Cerrone’s mind this weekend when he and McGregor finally get inside Octagon to do battle.
“Can I take the punch? It’s a question I wanna know. You know?” said Cerrone.
“Can he take my f–cking kicks? It’s a question I wanna know.”