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. Me, Conor, on TUF, whether it be four-six weeks, however long we would be filming that thing. The tension, the rivalry, the competition, the trash talk, just the animosity that would be built up and then go into a training camp and fight later on after the show.
“I want the fight. Everybody knows that. The fans want 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. Could you imagine the first round? 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. “And I stay lean, because I’m always training. 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. Most notable of the bunch is Arman Tsarukyan, who called for a Chandler fight or for the one-time UFC title challenger and the likes of Poirier and Gaethje to be bounced from the official rankings.
It looks like Tsarukyan will have to set his sights elsewhere because Chandler just doesn’t care for the matchup.
“I didn’t respond, because I haven’t even seen him fight,” Chandler said. “Not disrespecting or whatever. I know he fought [Mateusz] Gamrot; I haven’t really seen Gamrot fight either. I appreciate the callout. That’s exactly what I would do if I was 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?
“It was a good callout, good for him. He was coming at me, but that’s not how you get a fight with me, dude.”
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SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
#MMA fan of past or present?— . (@kidceej) January 31, 2023
Esteemed member of the MMA media?
There is still time to make the pilgrimage Saturday to witness Fedor Emelianenko make the walk at #Bellator290 in Los Angeles.
Do not sleep on the opportunity to witness “The Last Emperor,” one final time. pic.twitter.com/PgB2NfA9aQ
I am not going to miss this. It will be there live. Let’s go!! @BellatorMMA pic.twitter.com/3oPVHT4Pom— Gegard Mousasi (@mousasi_mma) January 31, 2023
Cain Velasquez is back at AKA gym and he is coaching, it's good to see him back pic.twitter.com/53m0Wvc9k4— General⚡Usman (@UsmanTime) January 31, 2023
Cain Velasquez is back at AKA helping his teammates pic.twitter.com/MQLSDLOh2K— MMA mania (@mmamania) January 31, 2023
Fight week check in! pic.twitter.com/OP7gfKADve— Kyle The Monster Nelson (@THE__MONSTER) January 31, 2023
That’s not supposed to bend that way.
Cat the finger fixer. pic.twitter.com/PDlnE4upcG— Alpha Cat Zingano (@CatZingano) January 31, 2023
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Rolling Thunder Kick, totalmente legal, tremendo KO… PATADÓN! pic.twitter.com/3YYcDEUshq— Gaston “Tonga” Reyno (@gastonreyno) January 31, 2023
They offered 500 M but I said no pic.twitter.com/O69vfxVo0N— Paulo Costa ( Borrachinha ) (@BorrachinhaMMA) February 1, 2023
Game recognizes game.
Cheers to @laura_sanko who on February 4 will make history, as she becomes the first woman in @ufc's modern era to provide color commentary for a fight. #UFCVegas68 https://t.co/oy6itU3IMH— Billie Jean King (@BillieJeanKing) January 31, 2023
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Saori Oshima (10-3) vs. Yerin Hong (4-2); Black Comabt 5, Feb. 4
Makhmud Muradov (25-8) vs. Abusupiyan Magomedov (25-4-1); UFC Vegas 71, March 11
Vugar Karamov (17-4) vs. Yoshinori Horie (8-2); RIZIN 41, April 1
Yuto “Kintaro” Hokamura (14-12-2) vs. Koichi Ishizuka (19-5-1); RIZIN 41, April 1
I think Chandler should just let this whole thing go. If he’s right, he’s right. It’s just starting to sound way too desperate no matter how logical it may be.
It’s officially been a full year for me on the squad, gang. Thanks as always for reading!
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