Dana White has confirmed that Conor McGregor has signed a big-money deal to fight Donald Cerrone in Las Vegas on January 18.
McGregor, 31, will make his long-awaited return to the Octagon for the first time since his fourth-round submission defeat to Khabib Nurmagomedov last October.
Cerrone had appeared the most likely opponent for McGregor for some time, with the pair’s welterweight clash to be the headline event at UFC 246.
Both fighters have agreed terms, with UFC president White revealing McGregor has already signed on the dotted line.
“Conor has signed and Cowboy is ready to go,” White told ESPN.
Victory for McGregor could lead to a potential rematch with Khabib, but the Russian believes his arch-rival has no intention of fighting him again.
“Honestly I don’t think he wants that fight,” he said.
“How is that so? I beat him up for four rounds. I beat him and choked him and he tapped. It was a sign he didn’t want to be there, ‘let me go please’ and all that. And now he wants the rematch.
“First of all he has to earn it. We’re in the fourth year since his last victory.
“It’s been three years and now we’re in the fourth. In order to fight for the title I had to win 10 fights in a row in the UFC.
“Just talking is one thing, but when it comes to doing it, he’s completely different. So for me there are no kind of announcements or insults. He’s an idiot. We don’t pay attention to idiots.”
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McGregor, who will have thousands of supporters from his native Ireland coming in their droves to America for the bout, has not won in the UFC since knocking out Eddie Alvarez in November 2016 to win his second title.
Cerrone, who holds the UFC record for most wins and finishes in the company’s history, comes into the fight on the back off a knockout loss to Justin Gaethje in September.
The American, currently signed with the Ultimate Fighting Championship, is a former lightweight title challenger and fought exclusively in the welterweight division from 2016 to 2019.