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Opinion: Father time is undefeated – Who wins on Saturday, ‘Cowboy’ or ‘Showtime’?

Photo Credit: UFC

I was there the night Anthony ‘Showtime’ Pettis put mixed martial arts on the map.  Sitting eighth row at the final WEC event in Glendale, Arizona. Pettis ran toward the cage, leaping off the fence, smacking Benson Henderson in the face with his foot, winning the WEC ightweight championship in the process. By the end of the night he was a SportsCenter legend. Despite going on to win the UFC lightweight crown and appearing on a Wheaties’s box, Pettis’s record since that fateful day nine and a half years ago is just 9-9, spread over three weight classes.

Saturday night, Pettis will face Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone for the second time, headlining the ESPN prelims portion of the card for UFC 249, May 9th. in Jacksonville, Florida at the VyStar Arena. Both men are coming off devastating defeats. Pettis fell victim to a rear-naked choke at the hands of Diego Ferreira in the second round of their fight at UFC 246. 

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On the same card that evening we saw the long awaited return of Conor McGregor who dispatched Cerrone via TKO in forty-seconds of the first round. ESPN commentator Stephen A. Smith caused quite a stir post fight, suggesting Cerrone “gave up.” It seems Smith was vindicated somewhat in recent days after Cerrone admitted to Brett Okamoto of ESPN, regarding his fight with McGregor, that he “didn’t want to be there.” If Cerrone can’t get up for the biggest star in MMA, how can we expect him to do so for his showdown with Anthony Pettis? ‘Cowboy’ is coming off three straight TKO defeats – a trend I see continuing Saturday night.

Both men initially starred in the WEC before it was bought out and absorbed by the UFC. Both men have similar skill sets. Great strikers capable of finishing their opponents off their back. They last faced each other over seven years ago with Pettis stopping Cerrone in round two via body kick, a beautiful and paralyzing liver shot. It doesn’t matter how strong your will to fight is when one of those connects. Nobody was questioning ‘Cowboy{s}’ mental toughness back then or his will to fight, but I am now. 

I will always root for my hometown guy, having grown up in Milwaukee, I am a bit biased for choosing Pettis. However, he is younger, and hungrier than Cerrone appears to be as of late, in MMA that is enough to tip the scales in Pettis’ favor.

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