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How Conor McGregor’s High Work Rate Beat Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone
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How Conor McGregor’s High Work Rate Beat Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone

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A by the numbers look at UFC 246 Conor McGregor vs Cowboy.

McGregor returned in impressive fashion after a 469-day hiatus from MMA, and in 40 seconds showed why he one of the most impressive mixed martial artists in the world.

McGregor starts fast, and has high output.

McGregor is known as a fast starter taking a look at some of the data behind this statement will better help us understand how the numbers backs this up.

In the 40 seconds of his UFC 246 bout Mystic Mac threw 19 strikes giving him a striking average output of 28.5 strikes per minute. The rest of the card saw average outputs from the fighters of around 4-5 strikes per minute, a fairly consistent average in the UFC. With the next highest strike per minute output on the card being prelim fighter Sabrina Mazo with a 7.9 strike per minute output. Of the 11 fights on the card the fighters who finished the fight having thrown more strikes won 8 out of the 11 bouts.

This high striking output combined with McGregors accuracy, and ability to follow up quickly with strikes lead to his TKO victory of Cowboy in less than a minute. This is Conors second fastest finish in the UFC with his fastest finish being a 13 second KO of Jose Aldo for the featherweight championship in 2015; a fight that McGregor averaged 23 strikes per minute. Of the 10 victories Conor McGregor has within the UFC five have come by KO/TKO in the first round. Three of these wins have come in the second round.

Of Conors five first round finishes within the UFC his lowest strike output came in his TKO of Diego Brandao in 2014; where he averaged 4.5 strikes per minute in his third UFC fight, and first time headlining for the promotion.

All of Conors KO/TKO wins within the UFC up until his fight with Cowboy had come via way of punches. With this kick knockdown and finish with ground and pound it shows that McGregor has more tools within his wheel house, a fact McGregor was happy to speak about in his in Octagon post fight Interview.

McGregor in the post fight

Conor seemed pleased in his performance and stated that he was healthy and unhurt after the bout. In the post fight interview he stated that he wanted to get back into the mix and be more active in 2020.

Earlier in the night the UFC broadcast had stated that McGregor wants to hit the #1 spot on the Forbes list highest paid athletes in 2020. A list he has appeared on many times over the past few years and been listed as high as 4th on.  

McGregor also expressed satisfaction with his ability to be the only fighter within the UFC to ever score three KO/TKO finishes at Featherweight, Lightweight, and Welterweight.

Moving forward from UFC 246

With Conor McGregor seemingly uninjured, and off of his hiatus it seems very possible that we could see the Irish superstar back in the UFC again later this year. There are a number of matchups that many have speculated are within the works; with Jorge Masvidal, Khabib Nurmagomedov, Tony Ferguson, and other top contenders at welterweight and lightweight on this short list.

There has been talk about McGregor filling in as an alternate for the Tony Ferguson Vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov, bout scheduled for UFC 249 on April 18th. Given that this bout has been scheduled to, and failed to make it to the cage 4 previous times, a high level alternate for this bout is welcome by many. 

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