Report: Conor McGregor, Donald 'Cowboy' Cerrone to meet at UFC 246 in January

Jason Owens
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 06: Conor McGregor will face Donald 'Cowboy' Cerrone at UFC 246. (Brandon Magnus/Zuffa LLC/ Getty Images)
Conor McGregor will face Donald 'Cowboy' Cerrone at UFC 246. (Brandon Magnus/Zuffa LLC/ Getty Images)

Conor McGregor recently said that he’d return to the Octagon in January, but didn’t name an opponent.

That mystery has been solved. ESPN’s Brett Okamoto reported on Thursday that his opponent will be Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone.

“Conor has signed, and Cowboy is ready to go," White told ESPN.

The two will square off at UFC 246 on Jan. 18 in Las Vegas.

McGregor’s first fight since loss to Khabib

The fight will be a non-title welterweight bout and will mark McGregor’s first UFC fight since his October 2018 submission defeat to lightweight champ Khabib Nurmagomedov that ended with a post-fight melee in the Octagon.

It will be McGregor’s third fight at 170 pounds after splitting a pair of fights at welterweight against Nate Diaz. McGregor also won the title at 145 and 155 pounds.

For Cerrone, it will be the first fight in a new exclusive deal that he has signed with UFC, according to the report.

Cerrone (36-13) was widely believed to be the scheduled opponent when McGregor announced his UFC return. Justin Gaethje was also thought to be a candidate. Gaethje defeated Cerrone in September.

McGregor eyeing 3 fights next year

McGregor (21-4) said when he announced his return that he wants to fight three times in 2020 and named the winner of the Diaz-Jorge Masvidal BMF bout as his next target following UFC 246.

Masvidal defeated Diaz by TKO in November to win the title of “Baddest Mother F---er” and has since speculated that McGregor isn’t truly interested in fighting him and only wanted to complete a trilogy with Diaz if Diaz had won.

McGregor also said that he wants to take on the winner of the Khabib-Tony Ferguson lightweight title fight that was recently scheduled for April in Brooklyn.

Either of those fights require a lot of unknown factors to fall into place. Between McGregor’s fickle track record — he’s fought just once since 2016 —and his multitude of legal problems, little is guaranteed beyond UFC 246.

But for now, McGregor-Cerrone is a done deal.

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