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.
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