Eddie Alvarez is one of only three fighters to have stepped in the Octagon against both Conor McGregor and Donald Cerrone. So he's a good person to ask if you want a breakdown of how things might go in the main event of UFC 246.
"I'm picking Conor, and it's not because I think he's a better fighter," former UFC lightweight champion Alvarez told Ariel Helwani's MMA Show. "I actually think Cerrone has more weapons and ways to win. But I'm picking Conor because of where I think the fight's gonna take place, standing up.
"This won't be resolved on the ground. It's gonna be taking place in boxing range. Conor's gonna force and pressure Cerrone and throw bad punches at him and be able to counter him a bit.
"Cerrone has been victim to a lot of southpaws _ RDA (Rafael dos Anjos), Nate (Diaz), (Anthony) Pettis. I think Conor's a bad recipe for him and if the fight stays standing up and in boxing range, I see Conor winning."
Alvarez, who now fights in Asian MMA organisation One Championship, was obliterated by McGregor in just under seven minutes with the Irishman putting on a striking masterclass in November 2016 to claim the lightweight title.
And "The Underground King" thinks "Cowboy" needs to get off to a hot start on Saturday night in Las Vegas.
"This fight for Cerrone is won or lost in the locker room before he comes out," Alvarez said. "He needs to be hot. He needs to do a full sparring round before he comes out, needs to come out as a second round.
"Second and third round, the Cerrone we all know is keeping the distance and letting kicks and knees go, and combos with his punches. That's the unstoppable Cowboy people love and the one that wins fights. That's the guy that needs to show up immediately before the fight."
"I'd bring my headgear, my mouthpiece, my shin guard and my best sparring partner. You would do a round. It's go time, there's no turning back then. So you do your full round and come out in state. Cowboy, his first round of every fight is sparring. He doesn't stop sparring until the second or third. Can't afford to do that with someone who comes out as hot as Conor.
Alvarez recalled how he prepared in a similar way for his UFC 218 win against Justin Gaethje in December 2017.
"I grabbed one of the Pettis brothers, Sergio, and me and him fought each other almost full on because I felt like I needed that coming out, to come out hot," he said.
"When you watch Conor, I've shared a locker room with him in the back before. He was sparring, beating the s*** out of Artem (Lobov) for like an hour. So I kinda get why someone comes out hot when they spar in the back like that. They don't need to get into state because they're already in state.
"But I grabbed him (Sergio Pettis) and said, 'Hey, can we get some rounds in'. Both of our coaches kinda separated us because it was getting intense but sometimes you feel you need that, especially against a fast starter and someone like Conor.
"He has the best first eight minutes of any fighter out there. For Cowboy, I would say come out hot No 1, attack the lead leg hard and fast. Stay in kicking range, don't let him get in boxing range.
"For at least the first two rounds stay disciplined. Whenever he can, like he did on the Brazilian Cowboy (Alex Oliveira) fight, do a takedown here and there. Cowboy has some underrated wrestling and jiu-jitsu he doesn't get to show everyone all the time. He's dangerous there."
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