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Dana White ‘looking’ at Conor McGregor vs. ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone, but not a done deal yet

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Conor McGregor doesn’t have an opponent signed, sealed and delivered just yet for his return to action. But the UFC has an ideal person in mind for the job.

On Wednesday, UFC president Dana White confirmed the promotion is currently looking at Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone as the fighter who could welcome back McGregor 15 months after his most recent octagon appearance.

White stressed contracts haven’t been signed, and the fight is far from official. But Cerrone currently is the leading candidate to land the coveted showdown with McGregor, who announced his intention to return to the UFC on Jan. 18.

“We have nothing done,” White revealed when speaking to TMZ. “Nothing is even close to being done, so I hate to even talk about this stuff and say it because it might not happen. It might happen, but we’re looking at “Cowboy” [Donald Cerrone].”

“No. 3 versus No. 5, Jan. 18 at the T-Mobile [Arena] in Las Vegas.”

Cerrone has been vocal in his desire to face McGregor after they flirted with a booking earlier this year. That matchup was rumored for a summer time event, but McGregor scoffed at the UFC’s offer because the fight wasn’t scheduled as a main event.

As the biggest draw in the company’s history, McGregor believed he should only be a headliner. The UFC disagreed, and the bout with Cerrone fell apart.

Since that time, Cerrone has gone 1-2 in his past three fights with a win over Al Iaquinta and losses to Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje.

Despite those setbacks, Cerrone remains one of the most well-known and popular athletes on the entire UFC roster, so he brings attention of his own to a fight against somebody like McGregor.

For now, White is still working on the details. But at the very least, it appears the UFC has targeted Cerrone as the leading candidate to face McGregor in January.