Conor McGregor Is returning to the UFC Octagon: Who will he fight?
The Notorious isn’t retiring, actually he’s on a war path.
It’s been over a year since UFC's Conor McGregor absence from the octagon. After his infamous submission to Khabib Nurmagomedov back in October 2018, the Irishman has even considered retirement. Now however, at a recent press conference in Moscow, the former featherweight and lightweight champion has pledged his return to the sport. Here’s who he has his eyes on for a fight.
McGregor will make his return to the octagon on January 18, 2020 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. His exact roster of opponents isn’t exactly pinned down, though we do know the people The Notorious himself wants to see.
At the conference, the 31-year old stated that he “does not give a f**k” who his opponent is upon his return. Going on to say that “I am going to go through the entire roster like a chainsaw through butter.”
According to The Sun, experts believe McGregor will appear in three fights over 2020. ESPN journalist Ariel Helwani tweeted that the frontrunners for McGregor’s first bout are Donald Cerrone or Justin Gaethje.
Conor McGregor announces at a press conference in Moscow this AM that he has agreed to return to action on Jan. 18 in. T-Mobile. He did not name the opponent. Fight isn’t signed. Two leading candidates are Cerrone and Gaethje. Cerrone is the frontrunner at this time, I’m told.— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) October 24, 2019
His first match
Cerrone, otherwise known as “Cowboy” is the current world #5 in the UFC lightweight rankings. The American has 36 wins across his 50 matches, with 13 losses and one ‘no contest’. Cerrone’s most recent showing was at UFC Fight Night in Canada where he faced, and lost to Gaethje on September 14 2019.
Donald Cerrone (Lightweight #5, 36-13-0)
Gaethje is the current world #4 in the UFC lightweight rankings thanks to his recent win. The 30-year old has 21 wins across 23 matches. At the time of writing ESPN’s Helwani says McGregor is more likely to have his return match vs Cerrone rather than Gaethje.
Justin Gaethje (Lightweight #4, 21-2-0)
His second match
His next match is expected to be the winner of Jorge Masvidal vs Nate Diaz.
McGregor wanted to return on 12/14 but that didn’t make financial sense since they already had the 3 title fights booked for that card. McGregor is looking at 2020 as “a season.” He wants 3 fights next year: 1/18, winner of Masvidal/Diaz and then the winner of Khabib/Ferguson.— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) October 24, 2019
Jorge Masvidal (Welterweight #3, 34-13-0)
Masvidal and Diaz, who have a 34-13 and 20-11 record respectively, will face off at UFC 244 on November 3. Both men currently sit in the welterweight division, a class McGregor has entered but never been champion of.
Masvidal is currently the #3 in the UFC welterweight rankings and has never faced McGregor.
Nate Diaz (Welterweight #6, 20-11-0)
Diaz is #6 in the UFC welterweight rankings and has faced McGregor twice in the past. Diaz faced McGregor during the Irishman’s welterweight debut back in March 2016, Diaz beat McGregor but then lost in a rematch during August that same year.
His third match
Finally will be the winner of Nurmagomedov vs Tony Ferguson. McGregor also said during the conference that "It will happen (in reference to fighting the Russian). I am not waiting around for that man, he is a known pull-out.”
And if Khabib wins versus Ferguson, he really wants the rematch in Moscow, I’m told.— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) October 24, 2019
McGregor is hoping to get another chance against Nurmagomedov after the Russian’s fight with Ferguson. It’s believed if Conor manages to get to this third fight, it will be to reclaim the lightweight champion title. Nurmagomedov holds the record for the longest active winning streak in MMA, currently at 28 wins and no loses. His most recent win, right here in the UAE, was against Dustin Poirier.
Khabib Nurmagomedov (Lightweight #1, 28-0-0)
Ferguson, who has never faced McGregor, has a record of 25-3.
McGregor said during his conference that we will be hard at work training for his January return. "Fight is 12 weeks this Saturday," he added. I go into camp from this tour and you will not see me until I go to fight.
"My family motivates and inspires me. I want to show them what hard work can do."
Tony Ferguson (Lighweight #2, 25-3-0)
Check out the man's plans below:
Here is the video of Conor McGregor announcing his plans for 2020, which begin with his return fight on Jan. 18 in Las Vegas. ( RT Sport) pic.twitter.com/9PiNSaNH7c— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) October 24, 2019