Conor McGregor to fight Donald Cerrone in main event of UFC 246 on Jan. 18

Helwani: Cerrone is the perfect fight for McGregor's return (0:49)

Ariel Helwani details why Conor McGregor is fighting Donald Cerrone in his Octagon return Jan. 18 at UFC 246. (0:49)

Conor McGregor will return to the UFC Octagon on Jan. 18 in Las Vegas, according to UFC president Dana White.

The UFC is close to finalizing a non-title welterweight bout between McGregor and Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone, which will headline UFC 246 at T-Mobile Arena. McGregor has signed his contract to compete on the date, White told ESPN.

Cerrone's representatives say he has agreed to the bout and signed a new, exclusive deal with the UFC.

"Conor has signed, and Cowboy is ready to go," White told ESPN.

The bout will mark McGregor's third appearance at 170 pounds in the UFC. He fought Nate Diaz at welterweight twice in 2016, losing via submission and then evening the series with a majority decision. McGregor's representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

McGregor (21-4) has not fought since he was submitted in the fourth round of a lightweight title fight against Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229 in October 2018. The Dublin native hasn't won in the UFC since he knocked out Eddie Alvarez in November 2016 to win his second title.

A former 145- and 155-pound champion, McGregor, 31, has just one UFC appearance in the past three years. Recently, he pleaded guilty to punching a man in a bar in April and was ordered to pay a fine. Last month, The New York Times reported that McGregor is under investigation in Ireland for two sexual assault allegations. No charges have been filed.

Cerrone (36-13) holds the UFC record for most wins and finishes in company history, with 23 and 16, respectively. He is a former lightweight title challenger, but he fought exclusively at welterweight from 2016 to 2019. He is coming off a knockout loss to Justin Gaethje in September.

Caesars Sportsbook posted an opening line of McGregor -240, Cerrone +190 for the fight.