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Jan 17, 2020
Marc RaimondiESPN Staff Writer
LAS VEGAS — For all the questions coming into the highly anticipated fight between Conor McGregor and Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone, making weight was not one of them. Both hit their marks with ease Friday morning at the Palms Casino Resort.
McGregor hit the scale at 170 pounds and Cerrone was 170 ahead of their UFC 246 main event fight, which is scheduled for Saturday at T-Mobile Arena.
This bout is being contested at welterweight, though both men are considered natural lightweights. McGregor fought at welterweight previously when he went 1-1 against Nate Diaz in 2016. Cerrone went 6-4 during a welterweight run between 2016 and 2018.
The stakes are extremely high for both men Saturday.
McGregor is making his comeback to the UFC after more than 15 months away from the Octagon and a 2019 rife with outside-the-cage issues, including several arrests. He pleaded guilty to punching an older man in a Dublin bar in November. The New York Times has reported that McGregor is the subject of two separate alleged sexual assault investigations in his native Ireland, accusations that McGregor has denied.
McGregor remains the biggest star on the UFC roster and the biggest moneymaker in the promotion’s history. A victory will likely earn him a lightweight title shot, per UFC president Dana White, and a step toward rehabbing his tarnished image. McGregor has said he wants to fight three times in 2020, if not more.
For the popular veteran Cerrone, the bout is a chance to jettison the albatross of never being able to win the big fight. ESPN has Cerrone ranked No. 5 in the world at lightweight and a victory over McGregor would vault him even higher. He already has said the McGregor bout has led to him getting the largest contract of his nine-year UFC career.
The Nevada commission released the guaranteed minimum purses for UFC 246 on Friday, and McGregor will earn $3 million disclosed and Cerrone will make $200,000 to show and another $200,000 if he wins.
McGregor (21-4) has not fought since a loss to lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov in October 2018. His last UFC win came when he beat Eddie Alvarez for the lightweight belt in 2016. McGregor, 31, is one of just four UFC fighters to hold titles in two divisions at the same time — and he was the first to do it.
Cerrone (36-13, 1 NC) is on a two-fight losing skid. He was stopped via TKO by Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje last year, but remains one of the most well-known — and most exciting — fighters in the UFC. Prior to that, he was on a three-fight winning streak and closing in on a lightweight title shot. Cerrone, 36, has the most wins (23) and most finishes (16) in UFC history.
Both co-main event fighters made weight. Holly Holm (135.5 pounds) and Raquel Pennington (136) will meet in a key women’s bantamweight bout. ESPN has Holm, the former champion, ranked No. 6 and Pennington at No. 7 in the division.
Alexa Grasso missed weight, coming in at 121.5 pounds for her fight against Claudia Gadelha — 5.5 pounds over the women’s strawweight limit. Gadelha weighed 115.5 pounds. That fight was ruled off by the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC), because of the weight disparity between the two women and “medical issues” for Grasso, who was not cleared by doctors, per NSAC chief assistant Jeff Mullen. It would have been a key fight in that division. ESPN has Gadelha ranked No. 8 and Grasso at No. 10. The UFC has not yet stated whether Gadelha will be paid her show money for the canceled bout.
Sabina Mazo missed weight initially for her women’s flyweight fight against JJ Aldrich at 126.25 pounds, but made it on her second attempt at 125.5 following an hour allowance. Mazo vs. Aldrich is on as scheduled.