- The potential fight between UFC lightweight superstar Conor McGregor and veteran legend Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone appears to have fallen apart.
- According to Cerrone, the deal fell through due to McGregor’s demands of being a main event bout.
- The McGregor-Cerrone fight made sense for both sides, but now the two fighters are back to square one in search of their next opponents.
Conor McGregor’s next fight is still a mystery.
The UFC superstar hasn’t fought in the octagon since losing his lightweight fight to champion Khabib Nurmagomodev in October 2018.
That fight marked his return to the UFC after an extended absence in the build-up to his money-grab boxing match against Floyd Mayweather in 2017.
McGregor has been suspended due to the post-fight brawl that erupted after he tapped out to Nurmagomodev in the fourth round, but with Magic Mac’s suspension over in April, it was assumed by many that his next fight would already be set.
For a while, it seemed that was the case. After Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone defeated Alexander Hernandez in January 2019, furthering his status as the winningest fighter in UFC history, McGregor’s name began popping up as a potential next opponent.
It was a fight that made sense for both sides. For McGregor, having not won since 2016, Cerrone represented a respectable, but beatable opponent that could help jumpstart his next push towards a title fight. For Cerrone, one of the most respected veterans in the sport, a McGregor matchup had the potential for a huge payday that could serve as a nice "thank you" from the company as he begins to consider how many fights he has left in his career.
But now, it appears the potential bout has fallen apart.
While money is usually to blame when two sides fail to come together in the fight game, as Cerrone told ESPN, the failure of this negotiation seemed to come down to ego — namely, McGregor’s disinterest in a fight that wouldn’t hold the main event slot.
"Conor won’t fight unless it’s a main event," Cerrone said. "I don’t know if it’s an ego thing or a status thing for him. I don’t give a s—. I’ll fight anyone, anywhere, and I stand by that all the time. I guess he’s a prima donna and only takes main event spots. I don’t know."
Cerrone seemed to especially take issue with Macgregor backing away during negotiations after openly endorsing their potential fight following his January victory, and then later
"I don’t know how in one breath you can say, ‘I’ll fight anyone, anytime, anywhere,’ and the next one say, ‘I’m not ready for that one,’" Cerrone said. "I’m more annoyed that he went radio silent after putting it out. I get it, you want to stay relevant by putting it out there, but then you can’t go radio silent. Sack up, b—-. Sign the f—ing paper."
For now, that means McGregor and Cerrone are both still searching for their next opponents. Cerrone told ESPN that "July is the latest I’m fighting," and UFC president Dana White said recently that Al Iaquinta might step in as his opponent.
As for McGregor, if he’s looking for a headline fight, there’s no bigger draw that he could produce than a rematch with Nurmagomodev, but with the Irishman without a win since 2016 and a group of worthy lightweight contenders also hoping for their shot at the belt, it might be difficult to justify a rematch so quickly.
Regardless of who his opponent is when McGregor returns to the octagon, the world will be watching.
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