"Conor has signed and Cerrone is ready to go." — Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) November 28, 2019
The Ultimate Fighting Championship has given fans quite an announcement on Thanksgiving.
According to ESPN on Thursday, Conor McGregor (21-4) will return at UFC 246, where he will meet Donald Cerrone (36-13, 1 NC) at welterweight. The event will take place on Jan. 18, and is expected to be held at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, although there have been rumors claiming it may take place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena instead due to potential scheduling issues.
McGregor has not competed since 2018, when he dropped his lightweight title fight to Khabib Nurmagomedov by fourth-round neck crank. The first two-division champion in promotional history won the featherweight strap by knocking out Jose Aldo in 13 seconds at UFC 194 in 2015. He then went on to split two bouts with Nate Diaz in 2016, and then captured the lightweight throne from Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205. Following his win, the Irishman went over to the sport of boxing, where he was dispatched in the 10th round by Floyd Mayweather Jr.. He has been embroiled in many situations that have kept him out of action in 2019, including multiple accusations of sexual assault, striking a man in an Irish bar and smashing a fan's phone.
Cerrone has dropped his last two by knockout, suffering defeats to Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje. The loss to Ferguson snapped a three-fight win streak where he finished Mike Perry and Alex Hernandez, while capturing a dominant decision over Al Iaquinta. His move back to welterweight will be his first in the division since he tapped Perry in November 2018. "Cowboy" holds multiple UFC records, including the most wins, most finishes, most post-fight bonuses and most knockdowns.
UFC 246 will take place on Jan. 18, and will be held in Las Vegas. The venue is still to be determined, and other bouts on the card include a lightweight matchup of Anthony Pettis vs. Diego Ferreira, and a flyweight bout between Roxanne Modafferi and Maycee Barber.