McGregor suffered a fourth defeat in 25 bouts at UFC 229 after losing by submission in the fourth round to the Russian, but the aftermath of the fight against Nurmagomedov overshadowed anything that happened in the Octagon.

The fighters and members of both camps went at each other shortly after the bout ended, with the melee spilling out into the front rows of the arena. Hefty fines and suspensions were later handed out.

In January last year, the Nevada State Athletic Commission fined Nurmagomedov and McGregor $500,000 and $50,000 respectively for their role in the fracas, suspending the fighters for nine and six months respectively.

Since then, McGregor announced his retirement in March last year, only to subsequently change his mind. He has also found himself in the headlines for all the wrong reasons. The Irishman has been accused of sexual assaults in two separate incidents—he has not been charged in either— and has been arrested for smashing a mobile phone outside a nightclub in Miami, Florida.

In August, meanwhile, footage emerged of him beating an older man in a bar in Dublin.

McGregor, however, is finally ready to make his long-awaited return to the Octagon and has hinted at major plans for 2020, suggesting UFC 246 will be the first of three fights over the next 12 months.

In the Irishman’s plans, the third fight will see him fight the winner of UFC 249’s main event, which pits together Nurmagomedov and former interim lightweight champion Tony Ferguson on April 18.

Before he can look that far, however, the 31-year-old has to take care of business against Cerrone, who has a career record of 36-13.

When is UFC 246?

The main card of UFC 246 is scheduled to begin at 10 p.m. ET on Saturday, January 18, with McGregor and Cerrone expected in the octagon at approximately 12:15 a.m. ET on Sunday.

Where is UFC 246?

UFC 246 is scheduled to take place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The event will mark the 14th time T-Mobile Arena has hosted a UFC bout and comes just a month after the venue staged UFC 245.

McGregor has previously fought at the Vegas venue in October 2018, when he lost at UFC 229 against Khabib Nurmagomedov, and in August 2017, when his boxing debut ended in defeat to Floyd Mayweather Jr.

TV coverage and live stream

As with every other UFC event on pay-per-view, UFC 246 will be available exclusively via ESPN+.

The main card on pay-per-view can be purchased for $64.99.

UFC 246 fight card

UFC 246 features 12 fights before the main event between McGregor and Cerrone, eight of which are on the preliminary card and four on the main card.

There are two women’s fights on each card, with Holly Holm taking on Raquel Pennington in the Bantamweight Division and Cláudia Gadelha facing Alexa Grasso in the Strawweight Division.

The complete card is as follows:

Main card

  • Conor McGregor vs. Donald Cerrone—Welterweight
  • Holly Holm vs. Raquel Pennington—Women’s Bantamweight
  • Aleksei Oleinik vs. Maurice Greene—Heavyweight
  • Cláudia Gadelha vs. Alexa Grasso—Women’s Strawweight
  • Anthony Pettis vs. Carlos Diego Ferreira—Lightweight

Preliminary card

  • Roxanne Modafferi vs. Maycee Barber—Women’s Flyweight
  • Andre Fili vs. Sodiq Yusuff—Featherweight
  • Drew Dober vs. Nasrat Haqparast—Lightweight
  • Chas Skelly vs. Grant Dawson—Featherweight
  • Sabina Mazo vs. JJ Aldrich—Women’s Flyweight
  • Tim Elliott vs. Askar Askarov—Flyweight
  • Brian Kelleher vs. Ode Osbourne—Bantamweight
  • Aleksa Camur vs. Justin Ledet—Light Heavyweight

UFC 246 Live

UFC 246 Live: McGregor faces ex-UFC title challenger Donald Cerrone in the main event. The UFC kicks off its slate of 2020 fight cards on Saturday with UFC 246. The ESPN+ streaming pay-per-view card features the return of former two-division UFC champion Conor McGregor.

McGregor, who has not fought since losing a battle with current lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov in October 2018. The ex-featherweight and lightweight titleholder scraps with Cerrone in a welterweight contest. Cerrone is coming off two TKO losses in the lightweight division.

UFC 246 Live

UFC 246 takes place Saturday at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The main card airs on ESPN+ streaming pay-per-view following prelims on ESPN2 and early prelims on UFC Fight Pass/ESPN+.

In the co-main event, former UFC women’s bantamweight champion, Holly Holm faces ex-title challenger Raquel Pennington in a rematch. The first time these two met, Holm won the contest via split decision. Holm is 2-5 in her past seven fights. She opened her career on a 10-0 run. Holm’s current record is 12-5.

Pennington had a four-fight winning streak come to an end in 2018 when she was stopped via TKO by Amanda Nunes in a women’s bantamweight title fight in May of that year. She lost her next bout as well, but Pennington is coming off a split decision win over Irene Aldana in July.

The focus of the prelim card falls upon the women’s flyweight matchup between ex-title title challenger Roxanne Modafferi and rising star Maycee Barber. Barber, who is 21, hopes to become the youngest champion in UFC history. Before she can achieve that goal, she needs to get by Modafferi, who has challenged for titles in multiple organizations.

UFC 246 Pay-Per-View Card (ESPN+, 10 P.M. ET)

Conor McGregor vs. Donald Cerrone

Holly Holm vs. Raquel Pennington

Aleksei Oleinik vs. Maurice Greene

Cláudia Gadelha vs. Alexa Grasso

Anthony Pettis vs. Carlos Diego Ferreira

UFC 246 Preliminary card (ESPN2, 8 PM ET)

Roxanne Modafferi vs. Maycee Barber

Andre Fili vs. Sodiq Yusuff

Drew Dober vs. Nasrat Haqparast

UFC 246 Early Prelim card (ESPN+, Fight Pass, 6:15 P.M. ET)

Chas Skelly vs. Grant Dawson

Aleksa Camur vs. Justin Ledet

Tim Elliott vs. Askar Askarov

Brian Kelleher vs. Ode Osbourne

Sabina Mazo vs. JJ Aldrich

The UFC knows that McGregor is one of its most prized assets. When he’s at the top of his game, he’s the undisputed biggest draw it has. However, the loss to Nurmagomedov followed by the long layoff could have an impact on that.

What McGregor needs to stay relevant is a win, and the UFC has set him up to do so. Cerrone is a well-respected veteran, but not one that has had his hand raised recently. The 36-year-old has dropped two fights in a row since a career renaissance with a three-fight win streak.

When McGregor is at the top of his game, there are few who can match his cerebral fight IQ in the stand-up. He has a knack for reading opponents and throwing the right strike with precision. It’s the kind of thing that helped him floor Jose Aldo in 13 seconds and gave him some of his biggest wins.

Prediction: McGregor via second-round TKO

Holm Outpoints Pennington in Chess Match

Holly Holm’s career has been a roller coaster, to say the least.

Her upset win over Ronda Rousey is one of the highest of highs a fighter can have. An undefeated fighter with a professional boxing background, she was on top of the MMA world.