Stephen A. Smith isn’t exactly a known for his MMA analysis. But given the network’s deal with the UFC, he was given the spot on the mic on Saturday at UFC 246.
During the ESPN+ post-fight who, the long-time ESPN commentator didn’t hold back on his criticisms towards Donald Cerrone, who was stopped inside 40 seconds by Conor McGregor during the event’s headliner fight.
“I’m quite disgusted,” he said (transcript by MMA Junkie). “Let me be very, very clear: I’m honored to be up here with you guys. I’m a spectator watching the sport. I expected to see more than 40 seconds. I predicted McGregor was going to win this fight inside of two rounds. I thought he would take him out.
“Here’s the deal: 15 seconds in, ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone was done. He got hit with those shoulders in the clinch, and he was done. It look like he gave up. It was just an atrocious performance on his part.”
Smith also questioned Cerrone’s preparation and mindset for the fight.
“You know the difference between a fighter that’s calm, cool, collected, and ready for the pressure, and it’s out-weighed by somebody that’s clearly in over their head? When you look at ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone, that was not a guy that was prepared to fight tonight. We knew Conor was going to be prepared,” Smith said.
“We knew Conor was going to be ready. We wondered whether or not he would take him out early,” he continued. “Obviously as the fight goes on, ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone is the bigger, stronger guy – supposedly. For him to be hurt in 15 seconds, get away from the clinch, and still just let Conor right back at him? Come on. You’re smarter than that, except for tonight.”
The win marks McGregor’s first inside the Octagon since 2016, which earned him an extra $50,000 for Performance of the Night.