Conor McGregor makes his eagerly-awaited return to the Octagon on January 18 for a main event showdown with Donald Cerrone at UFC 246, but will the former two-weight world champion make it a winning comeback?
McGregor was on top of the MMA world at the end 2016 when he became the first man to hold UFC titles in two different weight classes at the same time, but he stepped away from the sport in 2017 in order to pursue a lucrative boxing match with Floyd Mayweather Jr and it would not be until October 2018 that he finally returned to mixed martial arts for a grudge match with Khabib Nurmagomedov.
The 31-year-old Irishman was dominated and forced to tap out in the fourth round of that lightweight title fight and he has not stepped foot inside the Octagon since then, although he has hardly maintained a low profile due to several controversial incidents and run-ins with the law.
McGregor will finally get back to doing what he does best on January 18 however, but having not fought for over a year and having not won an MMA bout since December 2016 can he get his career back on track by beating Cerrone in Las Vegas?
While McGregor has been out of action, Cerrone has continued to fight regularly for the UFC and he has now gone 4-6 since the start of 2017 while moving between the lightweight and welterweight divisions in an attempt to work his way into a title shot.
‘Cowboy’ was stopped twice by TKO in 2019, losing to Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje and if you look back over his career at his losses this is a man who has compiled a Hall of Fame career while only losing to the cream of the crop, so he is hardly a ‘gimme’ opponent to get McGregor back on the winning trail.
The bookmakers are clearly aware of that too because they are hardly writing off Cerrone in the Fight Winner and Method Of Victory markets for this bout.
While Ladbrokes has McGregor as a 1/2 favourite, the firm is just 13/8 that Cerrone becomes the latest man to best the Irishman inside the Octagon.
McGregor is 1/2 to add another KO/TKO victory to his CV by stopping Cerrone with strikes, while Cerrone is 15/2 to become the first man in the UFC to stop the former two-weight world champion by KO or TKO.
Cerrone’s all-round game and McGregor’s deficiencies on the mat mean ‘Cowboy’ could look to become the fourth man to make the Irishman tap out in in his MMA career, and Ladbrokes is 6/1 that he does force McGregor to concede defeat to a submission on January 18.