Conor McGregor is set to return against Donald Cerrone at UFC 246. Interestingly enough, while they’re both mostly lightweights at this point, the fight will be contested at welterweight.
Chael Sonnen spoke about the match up, saying that while McGregor would likely be the “heavy favorite,” two things make this a tougher match up for him: The added 15 lbs, and it being for five rounds instead of three.
“The fight is scheduled for five rounds. If Conor ever had a flaw in his career, and he hasn’t had very many, he’s been open to admit it, he gets tired,” Sonnen said. (Transcribed by MMA Mania.) “To come off that layoff that he’s had… and yes he’ll be looking for that finish, he’ll be looking for that left hand, he’ll be looking to get Cowboy out of there, I understand that.
“But he did the same thing with Nate Diaz, and when he found out that Nate could take a punch, all of a sudden you’re in the later rounds, and all of a sudden you’re out of energy,” he explained. “I do feel in many ways the miscalculation here is to walk back into a five-round fight.”
On a separate video, Sonnen went on to say that the fight being contested at welterweight will mean that Cowboy’s ability to withstand those power shots will be better as well.
“We learned something (from the Diaz fight) that Conor, from his own admittance — some of his shots and some of that power and effectiveness — isn’t the same at 170 lbs,” he said. “This fight got a lot more interesting with those 15 lbs. The likelyhood of Cowboy Cerrone getting knocked out at 170 drops tremendously.
“Now, if you’re a Conor supporter, I have to ask, if Conor can’t knock him out, how does Conor beat him? You’re not left with a lot of options.”
Sonnen says that McGregor knows this, but has a lucrative reason for having the fight at 170. According to the fighter-turned-analyst, this move opens up more doors and McGregor would be able to get a big money match up against Masvidal.
“(Dana White) quickly said ‘no Masvidal is too big for him. I told you guys 20 mins after that statement was made that was not going to sit well with Conor,” Sonnen explained. “(White) told you three days after that he’d already been getting calls from Conor because that statement did not sit well with Conor.
“Now you’ve got the return of Conor at 170 lbs. Mark my words, he’s coming after Jorge Masvidal.”
For what it’s worth, Sonnen’s statements somewhat lines up with a recent report stating that McGregor plans to have three bouts in 2020. It was stated that he wants Cerrone, then a big money match up — possibly Masvidal or Diaz — and finally, a rematch with Khabib.