Former two-division champion Conor McGregor will return to the octagon on Jan. 18 in a welterweight bout against Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone in the main event of UFC 246. The fight is taking place at 170 pounds because McGregor is walking around near that weight and didn’t want to shed the pounds to make the lightweight division.
“The Notorious” wanted to get in a solid training camp heading into UFC 246 without the burden of cutting weight. If he gets past Cerrone, the Irishman is willing to dropped the pounds to if Khabib Nurmagomedov or Tony Ferguson gets injured before their scheduled title fight at UFC 249 on April 18.
“Likely something will happen there and I’ll be ready to stand in for that belt,” McGregor said during a recent interview with MacLife. “It’s happened multiple times. It’s been scheduled four times in a row. This is the fifth.”
The fight between Nurmagomedov and Ferguson has been five years in the making. The two were first paired against each other at The Ultimate Fighter 22 Finale in December 2015, but Nurmagomedov was forced out of the fight due to injury. The two were then scheduled to meet in April 2016, but Ferguson withdrew from the bout. They were expected to fight for the interim lightweight title at UFC 209, but Nurmagomedov was forced off the fight card due to complications with his weight cut.
In April 2018, the two were scheduled to fight for the fourth time for the 155-pound championship at UFC 223. While doing media interviews during fight week, Ferguson tore an ACL and the match-up as cancelled. On April 18, the two are paired together for a fifth time. If something happens to either of them, McGregor will be ready to step in.
“I’m back in my old frame of mind. I just want consistency. I want competition. It’s what I love to do,” said McGregor. “I want the gold. I’m after the gold. 155, 170, they’re the belts I’m chasing after now.”
Conor McGregor breaks down his return against Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone
(Courtesy of TheMacLife)