Conor McGregor will make his grand return to the Octagon at UFC 246 against Donald Cerrone with apparent eyes on a career resurgence. With more than a year to reflect on his latest loss at the hands of unbeaten lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, McGregor is reportedly laser-focused on proving he can climb to the top of the UFC mountain yet again.
The recharged former two-division champion has already inked a bout with Cerrone at welterweight, and he’s got two additional fights on his 2020 wish list, per ESPN’s Ariel Helwani. (H/T MMA Fighting)
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) November 29, 2019
“He wants to fight January 18th – in fact, he wanted to fight in December but the UFC didn’t give him that opportunity,” Helwani said. “So he wanted to fight at the beginning of the year, then he wants to return towards spring/summer, maybe fight Jorge Masvidal or Nathan Diaz – perhaps that’s why this fight is happening at 170, to prove that he can hang with the welterweights. Then he wants to fight at the end of the year against Khabib Nurmagomedov, if he is still the champion, in Moscow. He really wants to right that wrong… The last fight he got submitted, he wants to right that wrong so he’s hoping that he can win those two fights, get the title fight, and then shut everyone up.”
For the 31-year-old pro, 2020 could be a defining year in his career. A veteran of more than a decade now, McGregor has branched out to boxing and building his own brand through whiskey distribution. He could step away from the UFC at any time, but a roadmap like McGregor’s three-fight year signals he’s not done just yet. And what sweeter way to prove that he’s still on top than a showdown with arguably his most bitter rival — Nurmagomedov.
Fate would have to line up properly for such a fight, as Nurmagomedov is slated to battle Tony Ferguson for the belt on April 18. But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. The Irishman first needs to get past the tough-as-nails “Cowboy” Cerrone.