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Conor McGregor vs. Donald Cerrone to headline UFC 246

Conor McGregor (pictured) will fight Donald Cerrone in a welterweight bout in the main event of UFC 246 on Jan. 18 in Las Vegas
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

“The Notorious” is back.

Former UFC two-division champion Conor McGregor (21-4) and Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone (36-13, 1 NC) have verbally agreed to meet in the welterweight main event of UFC 246, which is set to take place at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Jan. 18, MMA Fighting’s Damon Martin confirmed with sources following an initial report from ESPN.

This will be McGregor’s first fight since being defeated by lightweight titleholder Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229 in October 2018. Immediately following that bout, the two fighters and their respective teams became involved in a chaotic post-match melee that resulted in fines and suspensions for McGregor, Nurmagomedov, and several members of Nurmagomedov’s team.

The past year has also seen McGregor dealing with a number of legal problems, including an incident that saw him punch a man in a Dublin pub and another in which he took a man’s phone and smashed it on the ground outside of a Miami hotel. Both incidents were captured on video.

He is also reportedly under investigation for two separate cases of sexual assault in his native Ireland, though he has not been formally charged in regards to the alleged incidents.

McGregor did not compete in 2019 and has not seen his hand raised in the Octagon since defeating Eddie Alvarez for the UFC lightweight title at UFC 229 in November 2016. He has competed twice at welterweight, both in blockbuster bouts against Nate Diaz. In their first meeting at UFC 196, Diaz defeated McGregor by second-round submission; in the rematch at UFC 202, McGregor won a majority decision. The rivalry resulted in two of the most successful pay-per-view events in UFC history.

Despite McGregor being the target of numerous callouts, a matchup with Cerrone has been widely speculated to be in the works, with McGregor himself stating he expected to be competing on Jan. 18.

Cerrone is currently on a two-fight losing streak, having dropped consecutive bouts to Justin Gaethje and Tony Ferguson. He last competed at 170 pounds in November 2018 at UFC Denver, where he defeated Mike Perry by first-round submission. The 36-year-old is 6-4 in the UFC’s welterweight division.

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