A firm agreement for Conor McGregor's UFC return is "imminent," according to his manager, Audie Attar.
Attar addressed McGregor's future Monday during an appearance on Ariel Helwani's MMA Show: "We've both agreed on that date and we've agreed on opponents. ... A deal is imminent. I don't see anything getting in the way."
McGregor hasn't stepped inside the Octagon since his loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229 in October 2018.
He received a six-month suspension after the event for his role in the post-fight brawl between members of the respective teams.
The Irishman abruptly announced in March he was retiring from mixed martial arts, but many fans thought the 31-year-old would eventually get back inside the Octagon.
The former featherweight and lightweight champion confirmed during a press conference last month he intends to fight Jan. 18 but didn't identify his opponent.
"As far as the opponent, I have the opponent's name, but from the game I'm in and from experience, if I was to give you his name, which I would love to do, I know the UFC would flip it because they are a craft company," he told reporters.
ESPN's Marc Raimondi and Ariel Helwani reported Donald Cerrone and Justin Gaethje are the two likeliest candidates, with Cerrone slightly out in front of Gaethje. They sit fifth and fourth, respectively, in UFC's official lightweight rankings.
Based on Attar's comments, it would appear McGregor and his representatives have cleared the necessary hurdles with UFC for his comeback.