In the world of MMA fights and UFC championships, there is one name that rings true in every fan’s heart and echoes across every bleacher of the T-Mobile. For those who have grown to know and love Conor McGregor (including Marvel’s very own Robert Downey Jr.), it is a well-known fact that the heavy-hitter is one of the most celebrated fighters to have graced the arenas stretched across America. But above all else, it was the 40-second finish against the Cowboy that remains, to date, one of the most shocking fights in the Championship’s modern history.
Robert Downey Jr. Comes Out as a Conor McGregor Fan
It is not without fair warnings that the UFC sporting event opens its doors to the public, flaunting red labels of triggering bloodshed, brutality diluted with a bit of sportsmanship, and a fight for honor and legacy. And yet, there are a few who confuse the feeling of being enamored with a round of precision kicks with that of being high on the blood-rushing sensation of adrenaline-jacked matches. Robert Downey Jr. too, it seems, is not exempt from the feeling and isn’t afraid to namedrop the golden child in conversations that range from Iron Man to Warren Beatty.
Speaking to Joe Rogan on the UFC commentator’s podcast, Downey claimed:
“People are like, ‘Are you really as confident as you seem?’ and I was like, ‘I guess right now I am, yeah.’ And this just reminds me… we were talking about the McGregor vs. Cowboy fight coming up, you know. I’m gonna watch it. How can you not watch it, you know – two brilliant souls who cannot lose, neither one of them can afford to lose this fight. Wow. That is a matchup.”
And yet, once the ablutions of praise were done and over with and the notorious Irishman was pitted against the self-assured Cowboy, it took 40 seconds between the fight to start and for the referee to call an end to it after Cerrone’s complete decimation by KO/TKO. In an almost blink-and-miss battle royale, the UFC-246 was an event to remember, and Robert Downey Jr. couldn’t have been more right in predicting the hype that came attached to the fight between McGregor and Cerrone.
Why the McGregor vs. Cowboy Fight Was So Important
On January 18, 2020, two UFC fighters locked horns, or rather heads, fists, feet, and faces in a matchup that has been nothing short of incredible in its magnitude. Both Conor McGregor and Donald Cerrone had something to prove that night. The former had racked up back-to-back controversies, starting with his rogue behavior outside the ring to his temporary exit from MMA to participate in the exhibition fight against boxing legend Floyd Mayweather. All of it incurred an image of instability and wariness among fans who had until that moment looked upon him as a prodigy.
Soon after, once the prodigal son returned to the realm of Dana White, his defeat at the hands of Khabib, followed by inactivity in 2019 raised concerns. Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone in the meantime, had been coming off of two straight losses and McGregor was supposed to be his first fight in 15 months. After the defeat, Cerrone claimed, “Donald showed up, ‘Cowboy’ wasn’t there.”
In one of the most shocking defeats and a tragic loss for the Cowboy, the match would only go on to compound the feeling of inefficacy and confusion, something that he described along the lines of: “Couldn’t get going, couldn’t get excited, couldn’t get fired up. Didn’t want to be there. Biggest fight, all the attention, my time to shine, I didn’t want to be there. It was crazy, man. I don’t know why; I don’t know how. I don’t know how to change that but it sucks.”
Cerrone retired in July 2022 after UFC-276, saying he knew it was a long time coming. To Rogan, he said, “I don’t love it anymore, Joe. It’s hard for me to get up.”
Source: The Joe Rogan Experience