Conor McGregor is finally back. The Irishman will return to the Octagon on January 18 against Donald Cerrone at UFC 246.
The show goes down from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. According to ESPN’s Ariel Helwani, however, this fight is just one part of a three-fight plan for McGregor in 2020. McGregor’s fight with Cerrone will be contested at welterweight, likely to prove he can hang at 170 pounds against his next desired opponent, which is either Nate Diaz or Jorge Masvidal.
Finally, McGregor wants to end the year in Moscow against Khabib Nurmagomedov for the lightweight championship. Here’s what Helwani had to say. (H/T MMA Mania)
”Okay, so he has laid out this plan that he wants to fight three times next year,” Helwani said. “And he hasn’t done that in over three years as well, so it’s a pretty lofty goal. But he believes that when he is active, then he’s not getting distracted, he’s not getting in trouble. He’s very focused.
“And people are telling me right now that they haven’t seen him this focused in a very long time. You hear this a lot in the fight game, but he’s going to sleep early, he’s waking up early. He wants to prove to everyone that thinks he’s shot that they are wrong. So he wants to fight January 18th – in fact, he wanted to fight in December but the UFC didn’t give him that opportunity.
“So he wanted to fight at the beginning of the year, then he wants to return towards spring/summer, maybe fight Jorge Masvidal or Nate Diaz. Perhaps that’s why this fight is happening at 170, to prove that he can hang with the welterweights.
“And then he wants to fight at the end of the year against Khabib Nurmagomedov, if he is still the champion, in Moscow. He wants to right that wrong. He wants to win those two fights, get the title fight, and shut everyone up.”
It will be interesting to see if McGregor can accomplish what he’s looking to do. The road to Moscow is certainly a difficult one, as Cerrone is extremely well-rounded, not to mention the prospect of fighting either Diaz or Masvidal, which are completely different animals in their own right.
What do you think about McGregor’s plans for 2020? Will he win out up to a Moscow showdown with Nurmagomedov?