Conor McGregor returned to fighting in emphatic fashion last weekend. The 31-year-old Irishman drilled fight veteran Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone in brilliant style at UFC 246. Just 40 seconds was all it took for the biggest start the sport has ever known to get his second win at welterweight.
Now it’s time for everyone to stop underestimating his ability to compete against the best at 170lbs.
Despite fighting for much of his career at lightweight, Cerrone has been a top guy at 170lbs. The UFC’s most winning fighter of all-time has a bunch of high profile victories at the weight. “Cowboy” has beaten Mike Perry, Yancy Medeiros, Rick Story and Matt Brown at the same weight McGregor destroyed him at.
After suffering a shock defeat against Nate Diaz in his first foray at welterweight, McGregor bounced back in impressive fashion. Despite questions over his ability at 170lbs and lingering cardio issues he emerged victorious in the rematch. Over five hard rounds, he out worked Diaz to earn an impressive majority decision verdict. Coincidentally the fight was one of the best all time fights in the promotion’s history. Diaz, like Cerrone has good wins at 170lbs despite doing his best work at 155lbs. The 34-year-old beat Rory Markham and Marcus Davis during his first stint at welterweight. That was before his emergence at the top of the sport as he beat McGregor and Anthony Pettis at welterweight.
After two big wins at 170lbs, many still continue to dismiss McGregor when it comes to any top welterweight. Current champion Kamaru Usman and BMF belt holder Jorge Masvidal are actively chasing the red panty night. He may be slightly undersized and will likely enter both these fights an underdog, but to completely write him off against either man is not wise. McGregor has serious punching power, which has obviously stayed with him at welterweight. He knocked Diaz down multiple times and wiped Cerrone out. Make no mistake, he can do the same to any of the fighters he is currently linked with.
Whilst he may opt to stay at the higher weight class, the biggest opportunities remain at lightweight for McGregor. In terms of size, opponents, commercial opportunities and fan interest, 155lbs is the place to be. But the reality is, the Irish superstar may just be sick of cutting weight. It’ll be interesting to see exactly who and at what weight McGregor fights next.