Conor McGregor’s return to fighting appears to be in the final stages of completion for a fight with Donald Cerrone on Saturday, January 18th.
McGregor had announced the date of his return prior to an agreement in place but the UFC worked to make it happen with reports of Cerrone or Justin Gaethje as the likely candidates to fight McGregor.
ESPN’s Brett Okamoto reported on Thursday that McGregor has signed his contract for the fight while Cerrone’s side has agreed to the fight and completed a new exclusive deal with the UFC. The fight will take place at welterweight, which McGregor has fought at for his two 2016 fights against Nate Diaz.
The fight is scheduled to take place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada and would be McGregor’s first fight of the ‘ESPN era’. Earlier this year a deal between the two sides made ESPN+ the U.S. distributor of the promotion’s pay-per-views and changed the economics for the company with the ability to guarantee a certain level of revenue regardless of buys.
McGregor, 31, has not fought since October 2018 where he was stopped by current lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229. The card was the most successful pay-per-view in UFC history with a reported figure in the neighborhood of 2.4 million buys, according to Dave Meltzer at MMA Fighting.
The 36-year old Cerrone fought at welterweight from 2016-19 and returned to lightweight for his previous four fights. He is coming off stoppages by Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje this year.