Conor McGregor is back. The former two-division UFC champion will fight on Jan. 18 against Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone in the main event of UFC 246 in Las Vegas. The two will fight at welterweight in a non-title bout, UFC president Dana White told ESPN.
McGregor (21-4) will make his first appearance in the Octagon since losing to Khabib Nurmagomedov by fourth-round submission at UFC 229 in October 2018. A post-fight melee — that included Nurmagomedov jumping the Octagon cage to attack McGregor’s teammate Dillion Danis and Nurmagomedov teammates sucker punching McGregor in the Octagon — resulted in lengthy suspensions for both parties.
McGregor has fought just once inside the Octagon since 2016 and twice at 170 pounds, splitting with Nate Diaz a submission loss and a majority decision win. The Irishman also has had a bad string of recent public missteps, including a pair of arrests for punching a bar patron in Ireland and smashing a fan’s cellphone outside a club in Miami. He is also under investigation for two separate sexual assault cases in Ireland, according to the New York Times, but no charges have been filed in either case.
Cerrone (36-13), meanwhile, is 3-3 in his last six fights with his defeats coming at the hands of elite fighters in Justin Gaethje, Tony Ferguson and Leon Edwards. He also boasts wins over Mike Perry, Alex Hernandez and Al Iaquinta in that time. “Cowboy” teased in October that the fight was close to being a done deal after McGregor hinted that a return was imminent.
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