The fight is on.
Both Conor McGregor and Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone made the 170-pound limit of the UFC welterweight division Friday at the official weigh-in for UFC 246.
UFC 246 takes place Saturday, Jan. 18 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The main card, which features McGregor vs. Cerrone in the main event, will be distributed exclusively in the U.S. via ESPN+ pay-per-view.
Both fighters are ranked as lightweights in the UFC’s official rankings but agreed to face each other as welterweights. Each man’s official weight was 170 pounds. The ceremonial weigh-in takes place Friday evening.
Both fighters appear to be in incredible shape.
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McGregor’s Heralded UFC Return is Finally Here
McGregor, 31, from Dublin, hasn’t won a fight in the UFC since 2016 when he defeated Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205 to become the company’s first “champ champ”. The popular Irish superstar has only fought once with the company over the last 38 months, losing by fourth-round submission to UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov in October 2018 at UFC 229.
But McGregor finally returns at UFC 246, and the fighter seems intent on staying busy during 2020.
Potential fights McGregor could pursue should he defeat Cerrone this weekend include blockbusters against welterweights Jorge Masvidal and Kamaru Usman, as well as his coveted rematch against Nurmagomedov.
Additionally, McGregor could pursue boxing matches against Floyd Mayweather Jr, who defeated McGregor inside a boxing ring in 2017, and WBA welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao, who sent McGregor a cryptic message Friday after McGregor revealed earlier in the week that negotiations between the two stars were ongoing.
Cerrone Finally Headlining Massive UFC PPV Event
Cerrone has been one of the most popular and successful lightweight contenders in the UFC for over a decade, but the 36-year-old American never had the chance before to headline a massive PPV event like UFC 246. That changes Saturday when Cerrone gets the biggest chance of his career against the UFC’s biggest star.
Cerrone holds UFC records for wins, bonuses and finishes. But even those rare achievements would pale in comparison to defeating McGregor at UFC 246. For Cerrone, defeating McGregor is something that could launch his career to the next level. While the real-life cowboy is popular with hardcore UFC fans, beating McGregor on such a huge stage would give the fighter the chance to become a crossover attraction.
But it won’t be easy.
Cerrone enters UFC 246 having suffered consecutive stoppages to Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje. Those two fighters are elite lightweights, and Cerrone didn’t appear in those contests quite able to compete with that level of competitor at this stage of his career.
At his best, McGregor would represent the most dangerous fighter Cerrone has ever faced before. So if McGregor comes into the Octagon anything like he was when he was at the top of the sport back in 2016, Cerrone could be in for another short night.
Still, if McGregor has slipped a bit, or if he’s too busy thinking about what comes next instead of focusing on the task at hand, Cerrone has the talent and skill to win the fight.