Report: Cerrone vs. Hernandez at lightweight confirmed for ESPN card

It is now clear that Donald Cerrone will not be fighting Conor McGregor after all of that speculation as a fight between him and streaking prospect, Alexander Hernandez is now official.

The fight is another impressive addition to “UFC on ESPN+ 1” –  the initial fight card under the UFC/ESPN deal. Other high profile fights confirmed for the card are:

  • Henry Cejudo vs. T.J. Dillashaw (flyweight title)
  • Rachael Ostovich vs. Paige VanZant
  • Geoff Neal vs. Belal Muhammad
  • Ion Cutelaba vs. Glover Teixeira
  • Alonzo Menifield vs. Vinicius Moreira
  • Randy Brown vs. Chance Rencountre
  • Joanne Calderwood vs. Ariane Lipski
  • Allen Crowder vs. Greg Hardy

UFC on ESPN+ 1 takes place Jan. 19 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, and streams on ESPN+. Prelims, however, are set to broadcast nationally on ESPN, with Cerrone (34-11 MMA, 21-8 UFC) vs. Hernandez (10-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC) serving as the featured bout.

Cerrone, 35, who is 2-4 in last six bouts, will be coming off a first-round submission win over Mike Perry in November. Prior to the win, Cerrone said that he intended on returning to lightweight to make a run at the title, which he challenged then-champ Rafael dos Anjos for in December 2015 and was subsequently beaten, prompting a switch to welterweight.

After his win over Perry, Cerrone teased that the UFC already had an opponent in mind for him but wouldn’t say who. In a later Instagram post, Cerrone said he was “just waiting on” McGregor, hinting at a possible fight with the former two-division champion. UFC President Dana White would later shoot down that idea.

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Now that the McGregor fight rumours are dead and buried, it is now clear that Cerrone’s quest for the lightweight title will begin with Hernandez, who enters on a tasty eight-fight winning streak with scalps such as a knockout of highly touted Beneil Dariush and a unanimous decision over technician Olivier Aubin-Mercier.

– Brad Dalrymple

Follow me on Twitter @Brad_MMA

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