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Conor McGregor has no issues with Michael Chandler, but ‘I’m just going to slice through him’

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Conor McGregor has a reputation as the best trash talker in combat sports, but it doesn’t appear his sharp tongue will get much work against Michael Chandler – at least not yet, anyway.

As filming on The Ultimate Fighter season 31 gets underway in Las Vegas, the former two-division UFC champion is gearing up to coach opposite Chandler on the reality show before they meet in the octagon later this year.

While McGregor is more than capable of making things personal, he doesn’t have a bad word to say about Chandler after they spent some time together while preparing their teams for the season ahead.

“I like Michael, we’re blokes,” McGregor told his website The MacLife on Thursday. “I posed with him yesterday. I’ve got no issues with him at all. I think he’s a good fighter. Coaching against him, I’m interested to see his coaching style. He’s more of an athlete type of a guy than a technical martial artist. I know he’s got some skills in the wrestling department, and he’s got some skills overall. But as far as the small, finer details, I’m interested to see.

“I’m happy where I’m at. It will be an interesting one to go against him [on the show] before I go against him [in the fight].”

Chandler has been rather vocal calling for the fight against McGregor since his first appearance in the UFC, and now just over two years later, he’s getting his wish.

Both competitors arrive at the fight coming off a loss to Dustin Poirier; McGregor snapped his leg in brutal fashion against “The Diamond” at UFC 264 while Chandler suffered a third-round rear-naked choke submission loss to Poirier at UFC 281.

Looking ahead at the matchup, McGregor considers Chandler “similar” in nature to a past opponent, Chad Mendes, whom he defeated to become UFC interim featherweight champion before coaching The Ultimate Fighter Season 22 in 2015.

A strong wrestling base combined with knockout power makes Chandler a dangerous opponent, especially with his kill-or-be-killed style. That said, McGregor seems fully confident he’ll dismantle Chandler just like he’s done to so many past opponents.

“I think I’m just going to slice through him,” McGregor said. “I think I’m a little too slicy for him than anyone else he’s fought. A little too snappy and whippy. I think I’ll slice through him.”

Right now, McGregor vs. Chandler doesn’t have a date or location, though the fight isn’t expected to take place until after The Ultimate Fighter finishes airing in August. They also haven’t settled on a weight for their fight. The Irish superstar had a laugh when that very question was raised while filming the reality show.

“185 [pounds],” McGregor joked “That’s what I said to him yesterday. Just having a buzz with him. He’s a nice guy.”

As far as choosing to coach another season of The Ultimate Fighter versus just booking his next fight, McGregor appeared more than happy for the opportunity while also reintroducing himself to the UFC after two years away from the sport.

“To be immersed in the game, in the business and the company and to be around these young, hungry fighters that are coming up,” McGregor said about doing TUF. “Put myself right in the mix and get back on the horse.

“That was my motivation and my reason for doing it, and also to give back to the game. To give my wisdom and my knowledge to the next generation, and then feed off that energy also.”

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