Conor McGregor has announced today he would be making his eagerly anticipated return to the octagon on January 18 in Las Vegas.
McGregor was speaking at a press conference in Russia where he also stated he aims to fight three times next year and cut through the entire roster like a chainsaw through butter.
McGregor hasn’t fought since losing to UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229 in October of last year.
McGregor has voiced his frustration of being side-lined due to injuries and stated the UFC are holding him back. Due to his inactivity it has seen a growing frustration among fans.
Over the past two years McGregor has seemed to put more time and energy into his businesses such as his whiskey proper 12 and his clothing brands.
McGregor’s time away from the octagon has also seen many UFC fighters call for him to fight or retire as his presence in the UFC lightweight and pound for pound rankings came into question.
So, who could be standing across the octagon from McGregor on January 18? Well there will be no shortage of fighters willing to step up due to the massive financial gain from fighting the former two weight world champion.
The two main candidates at present are Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone or Justin Gaethje. Former UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar was also a possible candidate with both McGregor and Edgar agreeing to fight but the UFC dismissed the idea as they wish Edgar to pursue his original plan of moving to the bantamweight division.
Cerrone is currently ranked number five in the lightweight division, two places below McGregor. Cerrone is currently coming off the back of two losses to Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje.
If it were to be Cerrone that gets the call to fight McGregor the match up would favour McGregor due to his superior striking. Cerrone would have no interest in bringing this fight to the ground where most feel McGregor is most vulnerable, Cerrone would stand and trade and that would suit McGregor to the ground.
The other possible candidate is number four ranked Justin Gaethje which would be a much tougher task than Cerrone. Gaethje is currently on a three-fight win streak and many people argue he deserves a title shot.
Gaethje like Cerrone would stand and trade with McGregor however the difference between Gaethje and Cerrone is Gaethje possess formidable power within his striking with 18 of his 21 wins coming via KO.
Gaethje also has a plan B, he is a former American state wrestling champion, so if he is being outstriked on the feet he can utilise his wrestling where he would have a distinct advantage over McGregor.
McGregor also stated he would like to fight the winner of Jorge Masvidal and Nate Diaz which takes place on November 3rd at Madison Square Garden.
A Diaz win would set up a potential trilogy between the pair in the summer of next year.
Also, on McGregor's list for next year is a rematch with Khabib Nurmagomedov in Moscow so he can reclaim his UFC lightweight title.
Nurmagomedov has stated he believes McGregor needs to earn his rematch by fighting some contenders and with McGregor's announcement today that's exactly what he tends to do.
Many of McGregor's team fully believe McGregor has regained his focus and drive, a drive that temporarily left due to his massive financial gain after his bout with Floyd
Mayweather. If it is the case that McGregor will be firing on all cylinders in 2020 it could prove to be his biggest year yet.
Conor McGregor announces his UFC return as he targets Nurmagomedov rematch
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