Conor McGregor is officially on the comeback trail.
The former two-division UFC champion made his first on-camera remarks Monday regarding his upcoming return against Michael Chandler. McGregor is set to coach opposite Chandler on The Ultimate Fighter 31, then meet in a fight that will likely be one of the biggest of 2023.
“I’m looking forward to it,” McGregor told Britain’s The Daily Mirror. “I’m looking forward to it. I feel good. I feel energetic. I feel ready. You know, I’m throwing up my high kicks faster than I’m throwing out my jab. So I’m very excited to get back.”
McGregor, 34, said he was set to fly to Las Vegas on Tuesday. He has been sidelined since suffering a broken leg in the second of back-to-back losses to Dustin Poirier in 2021.
McGregor previously served as a coach on The Ultimate Fighter 22 opposite Urijah Faber in 2015 following his interim title win over Chad Mendes at UFC 189.
A date and location for the Chandler fight has yet to be determined. UFC president Dana White recently floated several potential venues for the high-profile bout, including New York’s Madison Square Garden, Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena or Allegiant Stadium, or the cavernous home of the Dallas Cowboys, AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
For Chandler, 36, the chance to fight the biggest draw in the history of the sport represents a massive opportunity for a fighter who has quickly turned himself in a fan favorite during his five-fight run with the UFC. Chandler recently told MMA Fighting that he believes his fight against McGregor could become one of the biggest pay-per-views in UFC history.
“If you look at the numbers, I think 2 million [buys], it’s not just a possibility, I think it’s very achievable and very attainable,” Chandler said on The MMA Hour.
“It’s hard for me to toot my own horn, but I think what I’ve created is a level of intrigue and mystique that when I show up on fight night and that cage door closes, all hell breaks loose and my foot is on the gas. I haven’t seen a brake pedal at all since I signed with the organization. Honestly, since I started fighting. ... It’s just continued to build and build and build. So you look at why this fight got made, Conor knows it’s going to do big numbers.”
Filming for TUF 31 is set to begin this month. The show features a cast of lightweights and bantamweights vying to be on McGregor and Chandler’s teams.