With the UFC 246 headliner between Conor McGregor and Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone quickly approaching, everyone is starting to make their predictions. Even former two-division UFC champion Georges St-Pierre has come out of the shadows of retirement to give his thoughts on the fight.
Not surprisingly, his take is similar to many others. Cerrone, a notoriously slow starter, has to find a way to survive McGregor's early onslaught. But if he does that, the odds start to lean heavily in Cowboy's favor.
“If it’s a quick fight, it’s going to be McGregor. If it’s a long fight, it’s going to be Cerrone,” St-Pierre put it plainly.
“If Cerrone comes and tries to grapple, because he’s got very, very good ground game; his ground game is very underrated, GSP continued. "I’ve trained with him before and he’s got good takedowns. He’s very explosive to shoot the takedown. People don’t know that because he doesn’t use it much. He used it against Patrick Cote, but if he does that to weather the first couple of minutes of the storm and McGregor’s powerful left hand, I think he can get it.
“I think if he wrestles in round one, I think he has a good chance to win. But if he tries to play a boxing game, a karate game with McGregor, McGregor will tag him and knock him out.”
McGregor is quite the opposite. He has 18 knockout victories in his career with most of those happening in the first round. The Irishman has only twice gone into the championship rounds: once winning a controversial decision over Nate Diaz and the other time losing via submission to UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Cerrone has been into the deep waters on numerous occasions, both in three-round and five-round fights. That and his grappling ability is where St-Pierre believes Cerrone can win the fight. But if he tries to play the striking game early with McGregor, it could be a short night for St-Pierre's former training partner.
“McGregor, from what I’ve seen, he’s like a sniper. When you fight a sniper, you need to move. You need to change levels, you need to change angles, you need to change distance and I don’t know if Cerrone will do that or if... because he’s known to be a very slow starter. So if he does that, if he doesn’t start right away, hard with the speed, he’s going to get caught.”
McGregor and Cerrone headline the UFC 246 fight card on Jan. 18 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Georges St-Pierre lays out Cowboy Cerrone's keys to victory over Conor McGregor
(Courtesy of Tristar Gym)