Mixed martial arts is an odd game at the best of times, especially when it comes to the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Plans can change at a moment’s notice, fighters can come back from the brink after seemingly being over the hill, and young stars can fall flat on the face just when it seems like they’re destined for greatness. These traits, among many others, are the reasons why we continue to tune in week in and week out.
Prior to October 6th of this year, the idea of Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone fighting Conor McGregor seemed like nothing more than a pipe dream. Sure, both men are legendary figures in the world of MMA and the UFC specifically, but it just didn’t feel like their paths were ever going to cross in the kind of way that would warrant a meeting inside the Octagon. Conor is known for his superstardom and power, whereas Cowboy is known for being a loveable warrior who is one of the most active fighters of all time.
It certainly didn’t help matters that Donald had lost four of his last five fights, but now, everything seems to have changed. McGregor came up short in his attempt to win back the UFC Lightweight Championship from Khabib Nurmagomedov, and Cerrone defeated Mike Perry with relative ease at UFC Denver. From an analysis standpoint this should be one hell of a contest, with Cerrone being more focused than ever and having something to really fight for, meanwhile Conor needs a win to restore some of the allure that was lost on that fateful night in Las Vegas just over a month ago.
But if we rewind the clock back a few years, this is a bout that has always been in the distance just waiting to happen. At a 2015 mega media event that included some of the biggest and best names in the UFC, Conor took it upon himself to run down the lightweight division because, at the time, he was still a featherweight with nothing more than distant aspirations of making the move up to 155 pounds.
This is what @CowboyCerrone told me about fighting @TheNotoriousMMA after he didn't get the call on short notice when RDA fell out at UFC 196 in March 2016. https://t.co/5VF6CUbDQC pic.twitter.com/LMOm4PSWvn
— Mike Bohn (@MikeBohnMMA) November 14, 2018
It goes without saying, as you can see in the below clip, that Cowboy took exception to this, to the point where it felt like the seeds were being planted for a future meeting somewhere down the road. We all know that this isn’t professional wrestling and you can’t exactly script something like this to go down, but it almost feels like fate that these two larger than life characters could finally square off – and ‘fate’ isn’t a word we use lightly.
There’s an argument to be made that both men are at very different points not only in their careers, but in their overall legacies. Cowboy is five years older than Conor and has taken a great deal more damage, to the point where he is already considered to be a future UFC Hall of Famer and an all time great.
— Jed I. Goodman (@jedigoodman) November 14, 2018
Unfortunately for Conor, because of his two year absence from the sport, it still seems like he has something to prove to the masses. That sounds ridiculous on the face of it given that he’s the first ever consecutive two-division world champion in the history of the promotion, but fans are all about the here and now, and the Khabib fight was being built up as the defining moment of his tenure with the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Whether you buy into that theory or not there are a million and one storylines heading into this potential fight that should fascinate and intrigue you to no end, and we can’t wait to see how it all unfolds.