One of the most notable things about the build-up to the fight between former Double Champion Conor McGregor and Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone is the fact that the Irish Megastar has been unusually respectful. Any build to a McGregor fight has garnered attraction due to the trash talk and antics of his in the press conferences.
However, this time has been different and McGregor has admitted that while there will be blood spilled, it won't be bad blood. He's shown nothing but respect to his opponent, even telling him that he's delighted that he gets the payday he deserves.
MMA legend and former UFC Bantamweight Champion Meisha Tate has a theory as to why he's acting the way he is. During her show MMA Tonight on Sirius XM’s Fight Nation (H/T BJPenn.com), Tate explained that the last time he fought he lacked the focus that he once had and realized that he isn't invincible:
“I think he’s lacked focus at one point in his career but it sounds like he has turned that around, that he learned from it, that he realized after a loss that he wasn’t just invincible, he couldn’t do all those things and still be winning, he had to go back to his roots. It sounds like he’s more grounded,”
She explained that the legal troubles and allegations hanging over his head are one of the reasons why we're seeing a more "tamed" version of the Irishman:
“I think it’s partially why we’re seeing the taming of Conor,” Tate said. “I don’t think you can have those kind of allegations and still come across as brash and immature and that he doesn’t care. He’s showing a more sentimental, like a softer side. He’s showing a compassionate side.
While admitting that he's still relevant, she didn't pull any punches when saying that the allegations have damaged and tarnished his brand image:
I mean, is he relevant? Yes. But has his brand been damaged and tarnished in a kind of way? Absolutely,” Tate said. “And now I think he’s trying to do some recovery on that process. I don’t think the old Conor McGregor fares as well with the fans. It’s not what they want to see in a moment where they haven’t been liking what they’ve been seeing from Conor. They want to see the side that was before, they want him to get back on the winning track.”
She concluded by saying that if he beats Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone, he'll slowly integrate his trash talk back into the mix. Jorge Masvidal is his next potential opponent if he wins and there's no doubt that harsh words will be exchanged between the men if he ends up winning.
She also said that he has handled his return well and praised him for being smart about it. She said,
"I think he needs to be candid and open, and continue as he has been with the story of Conor McGregor and his comeback.”Published 17 Jan 2020, 13:19 IST