Will Conor McGregor’s Next Fight Change How UFC Fans See Him?

Ever since Conor McGregor joined the UFC, he’s been a fan favorite fighter who always seemed to be destined to do great things. But while that’s come true, McGregor has also done some terrible things. That’s why McGregor’s next fight against Donald Cerrone may change how UFC fans view him.

Conor McGregor’s violent year

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Happy Birthday to the King. @properwhiskey

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After suffering a fourth round defeat to Khabib Nurmagomedov in late 2018, McGregor, for much of 2019, simply went on a rampage. McGregor, after he became the UFC’s first double champion in 2016 and fought Floyd Mayweather for millions of dollars in 2017, was already acting out. In early 2018, he infamously attacked a bus that was carrying Nurmagomedov and other UFC fighters, and as a result, McGregor was arrested. 

But in 2019, McGregor’s antics got even worse. In one of his most egregious run-ins with the law, McGregor sucker punched an old man in the face at a bar for the crime of refusing to try McGregor’s whiskey. This incident, which was caught on video, drew a lot of bad press for McGregor, and combined with everything else happening to him, many of his fans started turning on him. 

McGregor gained fans for a lot of reasons, but his fights were the biggest reason. So the fact that McGregor spent 2019 not fighting, on top of everything else, also changed many people’s opinions about him.

McGregor’s next fight is on January 18th, 2020 

After publicly apologizing about that bar incident, McGregor finally hunkered down and got a fight signed. This fight will be his return to the octagon after over a year, and it’ll be against Cerrone as the main event of the night. McGregor has many things to gain from this fight, but obviously, the most important thing for him, PR wise, is the fact that he’s simply fighting again. 

But, furthermore, McGregor isn’t taking it too easy despite the fact that many fans and media outlets think that he’s going to beat Cerrone. First and foremost, Cerrone, who’s fought at 155 lbs. and 170 lbs., will be fighting McGregor at 170 lbs. McGregor became notorious after fighting in the 145 lbs. and 155 lbs. divisions. This simply means that McGregor will be fighting a much larger man than usual.

This could also mean that McGregor is preparing for a title-shot, not against Nurmagomedov, but against Jorge Masvidal. Masvidal won the inaugural BMF belt by beating Nate Diaz at UFC 244. Masvidal fights in the 170 lbs. division, and McGregor, by fighting Cerrone in this same weight class, could be sending a signal that he’s targeting a fight with Masvidal next. 

All of that simply shows how McGregor wants to show the world he’s the true BMF. If he does that, then it’ll be great for his PR as some fans have lost respect for him due to his sucker-punching and Twitter trashtalking ways. 

The UFC has other plans though

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That said, the UFC has other plans for McGregor if he beats Cerrone. Dana White, the president of the UFC, boldly stated McGregor will get a rematch against Nurmagomedov if he beats Cerrone. Some fans aren’t happy about this, as Justin Gaethje knocked Cerrone out in September of 2019 and he didn’t get a title shot, so it seems unfair that McGregor will get one if he wins. 

This makes sense for the UFC though, as McGregor and Nurmagomedov are two of their biggest stars. A rematch between the two will generate a lot of press, publicity, and ultimately money for everyone involved. 

However, all of that hinges on McGregor winning his next fight. If McGregor loses, then unfortunately for him, his fans may want him to retire and go to the WWE instead.