Conor McGregor’s UFC return is official for January, and it seems a win at 170 pounds over Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone will earn the former two-division champion a rematch with reigning lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.
“If Conor can get through “Cowboy” and Khabib can get through Tony, then we’d be looking at a rematch with Conor and Khabib down the line here pretty soon,” White said in an interview with BT Sport.
White confirmed McGregor’s return is cemented for Jan. 18 at UFC 246 in Las Vegas in a welterweight showdown with Cerrone. The UFC executive also said Nurmagomedov’s next title defense is set opposite Tony Ferguson on April 18 for a card that’s expected to take place at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.
For Nurmagomedov, getting through Ferguson is a tall test despite earning 13 straight wins in arguably the deepest, most dangerous division in the sport. But if the champ retains his title, it appears he’ll be staring back across the Octagon at McGregor once again.
The UFC appears determined to put McGregor back in the cage with Nurmagomedov after their first fight ended up as the biggest selling pay-per-view of all time for the company.
Outside of the Nurmagomedov rematch, McGregor is also reportedly interested in pursuing a fight with “BMF” champion Jorge Masvidal, which stands to reason considering the Irish superstar is facing Cerrone at welterweight rather than returning at a more natural 155 pounds.
Masvidal competes at welterweight and has said numerous times that he would love the chance to face McGregor in the future. McGregor seems to like that idea as well, but according to White, he wants to avenge his loss to Nurmagomedov first.
“Conor was interested in Masvidal, too, but I think he wants Khabib first at 155,” White said.
There are a lot of moving parts in this scenario. But if McGregor and Nurmagomedov win, the UFC could be looking at another big rematch.