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McGregor says UFC return has been agreed for Las Vegas in January

The former two-division champion has been out of action since his defeat to Khabib Nurmagomedov last year.

Conor McGregor says he'll be back in the octagon in the new year.
Conor McGregor says he'll be back in the octagon in the new year.
Image: USA Today Sports/Stephen R. Sylvanie/INPHO

CONOR McGREGOR CLAIMED today that he has agreed to face an undisclosed opponent in a UFC bout in Las Vegas on Saturday, 18 January, 2020.

McGregor (21-4), a former UFC featherweight and lightweight champion, hasn’t competed since his submission defeat to current lightweight title-holder Khabib Nurmagomedov in October 2018.

Speaking at a media event in Moscow in conjunction with betting company Pari Match — which was broadcast by RT — the 31-year-old Dubliner said that his comeback bout is scheduled for early in the new year at the T-Mobile Arena.

“I would like to announce that the return of ‘The Notorious’ Conor McGregor will take place on 18 January in the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada,” he said.

“That is my comeback fight. It’s 12 weeks from today. I’m in prime physical condition. I have agreed the date with the [UFC]. As far as the opponent, I have the opponent’s name, but for me, the game I am in and from experience, if I was to give you people the name, which I would love to do, the UFC would flip it because they’re a crafty company.”

According to ESPN reporter Ariel Helwani, Donald Cerrone (36-13) is McGregor’s most likely opponent, with Justin Gaethje (21-2) also being considered. Cerrone is currently ranked fifth in the lightweight division, while Gaethje is fourth. Gaethje defeated Cerrone via first-round TKO when the pair clashed last month.

the-canadian-press-2019-09-13 Donald Cerrone and Justin Gaethje pictured at the weigh-ins before their recent bout. Source: JONATHAN HAYWARD

Despite his inactivity, McGregor sits in third place in the 155-pound rankings, behind second-placed Dustin Poirier and leading contender Tony Ferguson. Nurmagomedov (28-0), who remains undefeated, has been the division’s champion since April 2018.

Having remained dormant throughout 2019, McGregor expressed his wish to be more active next year. He’s targeting the winner of the welterweight fight between Jorge Masvidal and former opponent Nate Diaz, which headlines UFC 244 a week on Saturday.

McGregor also reiterated his desire for a rematch in the Russian capital with Khabib Nurmagomedov, whose next opponent is expected to be Tony Ferguson. 

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“The people of the world deserve this bout to take place,” McGregor said. “It is an inevitable rematch. It is a rematch that I will come into sharp, fresh, I will have no injuries, I will have no alcohol, I will have no outside influences, I will be fully focused — exactly what the people deserve, exactly what the fans deserve, and we will settle it once for all.”

He added: “Like I said, 18 January, the return of a fully-focused ‘Notorious’ Conor McGregor in Las Vegas, Nevada. Ask the UFC who the opponent is, because I don’t give a fuck. I’m going to go through the entire roster like a chainsaw through butter.”

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Paul Dollery

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