Conor McGregor's next opponent has reportedly already been arranged by the UFC, and the Irishman himself says his 2019 comeback is on

Photo by Steve Marcus/Getty ImagesCowboy Cerrone may have lassoed himself a McGregor fight.
  • Conor McGregor reportedly has a contract in front of him to face UFC history-maker Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone in a fight next year.
  • McGregor has not competed since his October loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229.
  • The Irishman campaigned for an immediate rematch but has softened his stance since then, as he is willing to fight “the next in line” before heading back into a title shot.
  • McGregor himself says he will return to the fight game in 2019.

Conor McGregor’s next opponent has reportedly been arranged by the UFC, according to Showtime presenter Brendan Schaub.

The Irish striker has not fought since his UFC 229 thrashing at the hands of the Russian wrestler Khabib Nurmagomedov, who dropped him with a thudding right hand in the second round before submitting him for good in the fourth last month.

McGregor campaigned for a rematch immediately after his loss, but has since accepted he may need to fight against the “next in line” before he is in a position to challenge for the UFC lightweight title again.

Schaub says that the “next in line” is Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone, a wildly entertaining fighter who almost broke his opponent’s arm and set a new UFC record when hesubmitted Mike Perry at a UFC: Fight Night event in Denver, Colorado on November 11.

The win punctuated Cowboy’s longevity in the fight game as his 21 wins in the UFC meant he became the winningest fighter in the business. The octagon veteran then teased a bout against McGregor by saying his next opponent was “exciting” and worthy of “clickbait.”

And a Cerrone fight has already been presented to McGregor, according to Schaub. On his Showtime-produced Below the Belt podcast on YouTube, Schaub said an inside source told him “that the Conor McGregor vs. Donald Cerrone fight was offered, that’s the plan but they’re waiting for Conor to sign the contract.”

He added: “It’s up to Conor if he wants that to be his next fight. That’s where they’re at with it.”

Khabib Nurmagomedov submits Conor McGregor, UFC 229Photo by Harry How/Getty ImagesNurmagomedov beat McGregor at UFC 229.

The UFC boss Dana White even confirmed to TMZ Sports that it is indeed a fight that Cerrone wants, but nothing is yet agreed.

This is because McGregor is still waiting to learn whether he will be punished for the post-fight brawls that marred UFC 229.

Rather than celebrate his victory after he made McGregor tap with a tight neck crank, Nurmagomedov jumped out of the cage and charged at McGregor’s cage-side friend and fellow fighter Dillon Danis. While that was going on, members of Nurmagomedov’s team appeared to attack McGregor in the octagon itself.

The Nevada State Athletic Commission, the regulator for all unarmed combat in Nevada, has organised a hearing for December 10. Both Nurmagomedov and McGregor have been ordered to attend.

Only after this will the UFC be formally able to press forward with organising subsequent events for the two fighters.

McGregor, though, is determined to return in the new year and even told his Twitter followers that they can expect to see him fight again in 2019.

In typical McGregor fashion, he did not give much away and left it up to the reader’s imagination whether that return would be in the octagon with the UFC, a boxing ring, or even a WWE ring.

NOW WATCH: Briefing videos

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.