Eddie Alvarez thinks Michael Chandler is in for a rough night against Conor McGregor.
Currently, Chandler and McGregor are filming the latest season of The Ultimate Fighter opposite one another as coaches, setting up a fight between them later this year. The bout will be the Irishman’s first since shattering his leg against Dustin Poirier at UFC 264, but despite the long layoff, Alvarez predicts a difficult night for Chandler.
“If I had to guess, Mike Chandler doesn’t wrestle,” Alvarez said on The MMA Hour. “If he stands with Conor, Conor’s going to knock him out. It’s a mismatch. Mike Chandler’s defense sucks. He doesn’t have good defense, boxing. He throws bombs, but Conor’s way too fast, way too quick to get hit with anything Mike Chandler is throwing. So I feel like, Mike should wrestle and wrestle quickly, and use that. And if he doesn’t, it’s going to be a bad night.”
Alvarez has a history with both men. He infamously lost his UFC lightweight title to McGregor at UFC 205. He also split a pair of bouts with Chandler for the Bellator lightweight belt in 2011 and 2013.
The series with Chandler remains some of the best fights of Alvarez’s career, and a potential trilogy bout has long been on the wish-lists of MMA fans. Following his split from ONE Championship last year, it looked like fans may finally get their wish, but instead, Alvarez signed with BKFC, and he blames Chandler for the trilogy fight never materializing.
“Mike Chandler ain’t s***,” Alvarez said. “Just so people know, just so all the fans know right here, right now — I know fans wanted that fight. I know wanted fans wanted me vs. Mike Chandler III. Just so you all know, I want to put it out in the clear, I tried to make that fight happen. I tried to make the fight happen. It’s not on me.
“I tried to make that fight happen not once, not twice, but three times, and it’s just not going to happen. That guy does not want to fight me and the fight just never got made. So it’s not on me, just so the people know.
“There was a point in my free agency where Chandler was becoming a free agent as well,” Alvarez continued. “I called them directly, him and his management, and said, ‘Let’s make this fight. Don’t re-sign with anyone, become a free agent.’ It was when I was leaving the UFC and he was about to get out of his Bellator contract. We had a casual conversation, he was excited about it, said, ‘Yeah, that’s a great idea,’ and he went back and re-signed with Bellator. We could have made millions having a third fight. We could have walked into three or four different promoter’s offices and did great. He went back and signed for a few hundred thousand bucks for Bellator. Then, again, I’m a free agent again, we have another possibility of making this fight happen, and it doesn’t happen again.
“I did my part. ... To be honest, I didn’t want to ask for the fight. I don’t know if it was my ego or whatever, but I didn’t want to ask for this fight, because I didn’t want to deal with what I had to deal with to ask for the fight. But I sat down and spoke with my wife and she was like, ‘Will you regret knowing you didn’t do everything it took to make the fight?’ And I go, ‘Yeah, I will.’ So I tried to make it happen.”
Instead, Alvarez moves on with his career as the former UFC lightweight champion makes his bareknuckle debut against Chad Mendes in the co-main event of BKFC 41 on April 21 in Broomfield, Colorado.