On Thursday afternoon ESPN revealed that Conor McGregor would be making his long awaited return to the Octagon against Donald Cerrone at UFC 246 on January 18th. The date and the opponent had been long rumored, but as the end of the year approached without an announcement many wondered whether negotiations (or criminal investigations) would keep McGregor on the sidelines.
We’re sure more details will come out on how this particular sausage was made, but for now we know very little. Will McGregor finally get his much-desired UFC equity? Who knows. But according to ESPN’s Ariel Helwani, this fight against Cerrone is just the beginning of a 2020 run.
”Okay, so he has laid out this plan that he wants to fight three times next year,” Helwani said on SportsCenter. “And he hasn’t done that in over three years as well, so it’s a pretty lofty goal. But he believes that when he is active, then he’s not getting distracted, he’s not getting in trouble. He’s very focused. And people are telling me right now that they haven’t seen him this focused in a very long time.”
”You hear this a lot in the fight game, but he’s going to sleep early, he’s waking up early,” Helwani continued. “He wants to prove to everyone that thinks he’s shot that they are wrong. So he wants to fight January 18th – in fact, he wanted to fight in December but the UFC didn’t give him that opportunity. So he wanted to fight at the beginning of the year, then he wants to return towards spring / summer, maybe fight Jorge Masvidal or Nate Diaz.”
“Perhaps that’s why this fight is happening at 170, to prove that he can hang with the welterweights. And then he wants to fight at the end of the year against Khabib Nurmagomedov, if he is still the champion, in Moscow. He wants to right that wrong.”
”He wants to win those two fights, get the title fight, and shut everyone up.”