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By Tom Sanders
Conor McGregor has announced his dramatic comeback to the UFC- and both Donald Cerrone and Justin Gaethje are hotly tipped to be the Irishman's first opponent upon his return.
ESPN's Ariel Helwani reports that both Cerrone and Gaethje are in the frame to face McGregor in January, with Cerrone currently taking a narrow lead as the frontrunner.
Conor McGregor announces at a press conference in Moscow this AM that he has agreed to return to action on Jan. 18 in. T-Mobile. He did not name the opponent. Fight isn't signed. Two leading candidates are Cerrone and Gaethje. Cerrone is the frontrunner at this time, I'm told.
- Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) October 24, 2019
Speaking at a press conference in Moscow, the former two-division champion claimed that he will be returning to the Octagon on January 18th in Las Vegas.
However, McGregor said that he "does not give a f---" who his opponent is and said that the matter rested with the UFC, who he accused of 'holding him back' by not sorting the situation out.
He said: "I just want to compete now.
"I was trying to get on the December 14 card. For whatever reason, they've been holding me back.
"I'm giving them dates. I'm saying I want to fight this date, this date, this date in a row.
"And we had opponents selected and everything and they're just making it very difficult for me for whatever reason."
McGregor claimed that although he knows the identity of his opponent he would not reveal his name, because if he did the UFC would 'flip it', and that he was now working to get back to full fitness in time for the bout in January.
Many experts believe McGregor will go for three fights in 2020, with the Irishman claiming that the return bout in January will be "the beginning of my season"
After his fight in January McGregor will then seek to face the winner of the UFC 244 main event between Nate Diaz and Jorge Masvidal, with McGregor personally tipping Diaz for the victory. Following that he said he then wants to compete for the UFC lightweight title, facing off against the victor of Khabib Nurmagomedev and Tony Ferguson's fight.
McGregor has not fought in the UFC since his defeat by submission to Nurmagomedev in October 2018, and says he is keen for a rematch in Moscow.
"That is the bout we want," McGregor said. "We want this bout in Moscow. The people of Russia deserve this bout to take place. The people of the world deserve this bout to take place."
The pair's previous bout set the record for MMA pay-per-view buys, but was marred by brawling between the two competitors after the event.
On Khabib, McGregor said: "It will happen. I am not waiting around for that man, he is a known pull-out.
"You can run but you cannot hide. He ran out of the press conference in Moscow last week. It is in his nature. Trust me I am coming for him.
"Where is he now in this country? I fly in, he flies out. Typical.
"I am going to go through the entire roster like a chainsaw through butter."
Featured Image Credit: PA Images
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