Conor McGregor to face Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone in UFC return

We knew Conor McGregor would be making his long-awaited return to UFC in January, and now we know who he’ll be facing.

The Irishman confirmed last month that he would return to the Octagon on Jan. 18, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada, but didn’t disclose who he would be coming up against, instead saying: “I have the opponent’s name … if I was to give you his name, which I would love to do, I know the UFC would flip it.”

But UFC president Dana White has now announced McGregor will face Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone at UFC 246 in a welterweight fight.

“Conor has signed and Cerrone is ready to go,” White told ESPN’s Brett Okamoto.

McGregor, who has 21 wins and four losses on his MMA record, hasn’t fought in the UFC since he was defeated by Khabib Nurmagomedov via submission in October 2018.

Following the explosive end to the fight — with a skirmish between McGregor, Nurmagomedov and the fighters’ respective camps — the 31-year-old Irishman was a handed six-month suspension and then announced his retirement on social media.

White, however, was always confident McGregor would return to fighting — in April he told CNN Sport “McGregor will fight again.

The 36-year-old Cerrone has a MMA record of 36-13. The American fighter lost his last fight in the first round to Justin Gaethje in September.

McGregor announced his first retirement in April 2016 — he rescinded that after a month — and later in the year became the first fighter to hold belts in two weight categories at the same time.

He might have only fought once in the UFC in the last three years — he did have a boxing fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr. in 2017 — but McGregor has never been far from the headlines.

A video released on social media in August appeared to show the Irishman punching a man in the head in the Marble Arch pub in Dublin.

The fighter was later fined €1,000 ($1,100) after pleading guilty to a single charge of assault. He told the court that what he did was “very wrong” and that “nothing of this nature will happen again.”

The incident took place a month after McGregor was arrested for allegedly smashing a fan’s phone in Miami, USA. Charges were later dropped.