The wait is over.
Conor McGregor returns to the octagon Saturday night to fight Donald Cerrone at UFC 246. “The Notorious” hasn’t won a fight since he defeated Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205 back in 2016 to become the first UFC fighter to hold two championship belts simultaneously.
Despite this, he enters UFC 246 as a heavy favorite (-325) against Cerrone (+250), who has lost six of his last 10 fights.
Sirius XM MMA analyst Jimmy Smith, UFC bantamweight Randy Costa and NESN.com’s Andre Khatchaturian give their picks for the fight below.
Jimmy Smith, “MMA on Siriux XM” analyst: The problem for Cowboy is he’s had trouble with fighters like Conor McGregor, who are accurate, tricky, versatile, unorthodox, confident and control range well. That’s always been a problem for Cowboy and he has trouble starting slowly in big fights. Conor McGregor is a very fast starter. I’m going with McGregor in the first three rounds.
Randy Costa, UFC Bantamweight: I have to pull for Cowboy. I don’t think he’s going to get it done early. I think it’s going to be a dirty fight. Sometime maybe in the fourth round. Conor is notorious for not having a good gas tank. Cowboy is extremely notorious for having an unbelievable gas tank. I’m swaying toward Cowboy finishing it late in the fight or getting a decision. But the fans are going to win the fight.
Andre Khatchaturian, NESN: McGregor was ripping shots with Dana White prior to his last fight against Khabib Nurmagomedov. This week, we’ve seen a different McGregor. He’s nice, professional, respectful and he actually showed up on time to his press conference Wednesday. The Notorious looks and seems prepared and I think that will translate in the octagon. Cerrone is also very beatable as he’s lost six of his last 10 fights — four of them via first- or second-round knockout.