Michael Chandler sees no other options for Conor McGregor’s return opponent.
The three-time Bellator lightweight champion made his intentions clear as soon as he entered the octagon in Jan. 2021. Chandler, 36, isn’t here for a long time, he’s here for a good time … and that was said with the hope of big fights like “The Notorious” McGregor.
Chandler has managed to get ahold of some of the biggest names at 155 pounds like notable former title challengers Dustin Poirier, Justin Gaethje, Tony Ferguson, and former champion Charles Oliveira. Unfortunately for “Iron,” that one big Irish fish has continued to elude him as 2023 gets rolling and talks of a McGregor vs. Ferguson Ultimate Fighter (TUF) season have recently heated up.
“I know for sure that was definitely just a tweet thrown out there to see if it gained any traction,” Chandler told Believe You Me regarding Ferguson mentioning a TUF coaching opportunity opposite McGregor. “Obviously, everybody knows I would be down. Conor and me on TUF. It could be for four to six weeks or however many hours we were filming. Tension, rivalry and trash talking, all the animosity, would build up, then we’d go to a camp for training and fight after the show.
” I want to fight. Everyone knows this. Fans want to see the fight. Dana has gone public saying he wants that fight so the UFC wants the fight. I’ve actually heard from numerous UFC people that that’s the fight that a lot of people are talking about. Man, huge fight. Can you picture the first round of this fight? Two dudes trying to finish each other in the first round. Massive.”
While the majority of Chandler’s thrilling career has taken place at lightweight, he began as a welterweight and isn’t opposed to returning to the 170-pound ranks. McGregor has already expressed that he’ll make a return to the heavier weight class upon his return. Jan. 2020 marked not only McGregor’s last time at 170 pounds, but his last time in the win column, suffering consecutive TKO defeats to the aforementioned Poirier since then.
“I’m walking around almost 190 right now,” Chandler said. Because I train, I keep lean. I’m not getting fluffy or fat, and I’m always around that 185-190 clip. So 170, for me, would be a dream come true. I don’t like making 155. The only reason I can make 155 is just good, old-fashioned 12 weeks of diet, exercise, discipline, and a little bit of dehydration at the end, so why not do 170? I still think I’m bigger than Conor at this point, even with his regimen that he’s been on.”
Seemingly a perennial top contender at this point despite his 2-3 record in the octagon, Chandler has caught some flack from rising contenders. Arman Tsarukyan is the most notable among them all. He called for Chandler to fight, or for Gaethje and Poirier to lose their UFC titles.
It looks like Tsarukyan is going to have to look elsewhere, as Chandler doesn’t want the matchup.
“I didn’t respond, because I haven’t even seen him fight,” Chandler said. Chandler said, “Not being disrespectful or anything. I know he fought [Mateusz] Gamrot; I haven’t really seen Gamrot fight either. I appreciate the callout. This is exactly what I would do, if I were him. But no thanks man. I’m over here talking about Conor and TUF. You think I’m worried about freaking Arman Tsarukyan with a silent T at the beginning of his name?
” This was a great callout. He was coming at me, but that’s not how you get a fight with me, dude.”
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I think Chandler should just let this whole thing go. He’s correct if he is. This is just beginning to sound too desperate, no matter how logic it might seem.
It’s officially been a full year for me on the squad, gang. Thank you for reading.
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