Conor ‘The Notorious’ McGregor will return to the Octagon on Jan. 18 in Las Vegas, where the former featherweight and lightweight champion will collide with Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone in the UFC 246 headliner.
ESPN’s Brett Okamoto reported the news that came directly from the promotion’s President Dana White. “Conor has signed and Cowboy is ready to go,” White told Okamoto.
It will be a five-round, non-title bout that’ll be contested in the welterweight division. McGregor has only fought at 170 pounds twice, splitting a pair of fights with Nate Diaz in 2016.
The Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas opened McGregor as a -180 favorite against Cerrone, who is a +150 underdog. Several offshore betting shops have had odds up for this fight for about a month. The best underdog price on Cerrone is +225 at William Hill.
McGregor (21-4 MMA, 9-2 UFC) hasn’t competed since losing by fourth-round submission to Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229 on Oct. 6 of 2018. His last win in the Octagon came on Nov. 12 of 2016, when he scored a second-round knockout victory over Eddie Alvarez to win the 155-pound strap.
McGregor’s most notable career wins have come over current featherweight champ Max Holloway, former featherweight kingpin Jose Aldo, former lightweight title challenger Dustin Poirier, former featherweight title challenger Chad Mendes and former lightweight and BMF title challenger Nate Diaz.
The 31-year-old McGregor has spent much more time in the news for negative reasons over the last three years. We covered some of that ground here in April.
One day before that column (that I just linked to above) was published, McGregor sucker punched an elderly man.
Cerrone (36-13 MMA, 23-10 UFC) saw his three-fight winning streak snapped in June, when he and Tony Ferguson waged the Fight of the Night. The doctor cancelled the bout just before the start of Round 3 after Cerrone blew his nose.
The mistake by Cowboy prompted his eye to completely shut with swelling. Ferguson was awarded with a second-round TKO win.
Three months later, Cerrone lost by first-round KO to Justin ‘The Highlight’ Gaethje. ‘Cowboy’ will be looking to avoid the second three-fight losing streak of his career.
Cerrone is the UFC’s all-time leader in career wins (23) and career finishes (16). He posted a 6-4 record during a 10-fight run at welterweight from 2016-2018. Cerrone’s scalps at 170 pounds included Alex Oliveira, Patrick Cote, Rick Story, Matt Brown, Yancy Medeiros and Mike Perry.
Cowboy owns additional wins of note over Al Iaquinta, Alexander Hernandez, Ben Henderson, Jim Miller, Eddie Alvarez, Jeremy Stephens, Melvin Guillard, Evan Dunham, James Krause, Charles Oliveira, Danny Castillo and Jamie Varner.