Conor McGregor Announces UFC Return, Sportsbooks Struggle to Set Odds on Mystery Opponent

Posted on: October 24, 2019, 10:39h. 

Last updated on: October 24, 2019, 10:54h.

Conor McGregor says he will step back into the Octagon in January 2020, but UFC President Dana White says nothing is set in stone.

Conor McGregor UFC odds
Conor McGregor says he’s returning to the UFC by way of Las Vegas in January. (Image: Pavel Golovkin/AP)

The embattled Irishman hasn’t fought since UFC 229 in October 2018, where he lost by submission to Khabib Nurmagomedov. The biggest star in mixed martial arts explains he’s coming out of retirement, and will fight January 18 in Las Vegas at T-Mobile Arena.

“I would like to announce to the public the return of the notorious Conor McGregor,” the 31-year-old told a crowd in Russia. “It is 12 weeks this Saturday. I’m in prime physical condition.”

As to his opponent, McGregor said if he revealed the name, the UFC “would flip it, because they are a crafty company.”

Ask the UFC who the opponent is, because I do not give a f— who the opponent is,” McGregor declared.

White responded to the news, “Yes, we are targeting that date for Conor’s return. But no deals are even close to being signed.”

Odds Released

Conor McGregor might not care who the opponent is, but oddsmakers do. The leading candidates are said to be Donald Cerrone and Justin Gaethje. Gaethje beat Cerrone last month.

Sportsbooks have opened lines on the potential fights.

FanDuel in Pennsylvania has McGregor the favorite, versus Cerrone at -164. That’s implied odds of 62.12 percent, with a $100 bet netting $60.98. Cerrone is the underdog at +134.

However, if McGregor steps into the Octagon against Gaethje, he is currently a slight underdog at +114. Gaethje is the favorite at -138.

McGregor is 21-4 in his MMA career, and has never been knocked out. In the UFC lightweight class, Nurmagomedov is the champion belt holder. McGregor is still ranked No. 3, Gaethje No. 4, and Cerrone No. 5.

McGregor Meltdown

McGregor hasn’t won a UFC fight since 2016, when he beat Eddie Alvarez to secure the lightweight title. Following that victory, he moonlighted as a boxer, entering the ring against Floyd Mayweather in what was one of the most financially successful pay-per-view spectacles in TV history.

The Irishman then seemingly went off the rails and encountered a series of legal troubles.

November 2017: McGregor jumped into the cage to celebrate teammate Charlie Ward’s win at Bellator 187. Not permitted to be in the cage, McGregor slapped a commissioner’s face for trying to escort him out.

April 2018: McGregor charged a bus transporting Nurmagomedov at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, and tossed a metal dolly at the vehicle. He later pleaded no contest to disorderly conduct and was ordered to perform five days of community service and attend anger management classes.

October 2018: At UFC 229, a post-fight brawl between McGregor and Nurmagomedov’s teams broke out. Nurmagomedov was subsequently handed a $500,000 fine and nine-month suspension by the Nevada State Athletic Commission. McGregor was fined $50,000 and suspended for six months.

March 2019: McGregor was arrested in Miami Beach after he allegedly took a man’s phone who was photographing him and destroyed the device. Charges were later dismissed.

August 2019: A video emerges appearing to show McGregor punching a man at a Dublin pub. McGregor was charged with assault.