Michael Chandler is looking forward to the world of possibilities that open up with facing Conor McGregor in his next time out.
The former three-time Bellator lightweight champion heads into the summer of 2023 fresh off a stint as a coach on the upcoming season of The Ultimate Fighter. On season 31 of the longstanding UFC reality TV series, Chandler competed opposite the former UFC featherweight and lightweight titleholder Conor McGregor as coaches. As is tradition with the show, the coaches are expected to fight after the season’s finale has concluded.
Thanks to McGregor’s megastar status, a win over him — or for him — always leaves the victor of his bouts orbiting gold. While both fighters have primarily fought their careers as lightweights, all signs are pointing to the bout taking place at 170 pounds, which both are open to. Despite Chandler (23-8) starting his career as a welterweight in 2009 and dropping down to 155 pounds and staying down after his first five fights, he sees some exciting potential pairings awaiting him.
“I never say never and I’m never gonna say that I deserve that, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that could be in the cards because the UFC knows what good business is,” Chandler told Thiccc Boy of a title shot off a McGregor win. “They know it’s all about attention, big names, big fights. Especially when I finish Conor the way I think I’m going to in a dominant fashion. It could very well be in the cards and I would love to go out there and fight Islam [Makhachev] or whoever has the title at that point.
“I wouldn’t be opposed [to a welterweight title shot]. It depends on if it was the right matchup at 170. Colby [Covington] would be a good fight. I would love that Colby fight. I love the idea of a [Jorge] Masvidal fight, I wish him well in retirement. I love that fight. [Nate] Diaz I’m sure is gonna end up coming back, he’ll fight at 170. There’s some cool, big, fun fights out there too if I don’t get the title shot. But like I said, I don’t think I deserve a title shot necessarily. If they give it to me, I ain’t saying no.”
Inserting Chandler’s name into the 170-pound mix would only add to the current chaos within the landscape. Contenders have been scrambling, making their arguments for who should be next in line since the champion Leon Edwards last defended against Kamaru Usman in March. Ultimately, the highlighted Covington appears to be a lock for the next title shot at a date yet to be determined.
Chandler, 37, made it clear that he isn’t “here for a long time, but a good time” upon his January 2021 arrival in the UFC. Since then, “Iron” has gone 2-3 in his thrilling five octagon appearances, one of which was for the vacant 155-pound gold when facing Charles Oliveira in May 2021. Unfortunately for Chandler, he fell short against Dustin Poirier in his last time out at UFC 281 in November 2022 via a third-round rear-naked choke submission.
TUF 31 is set to premiere on the ESPN network on May 30, featuring a cast of eight bantamweights and eight lightweights. Even though the launch date is right around the corner, Chandler still has no insight on when his showdown with McGregor will go down. “The Notorious” still needs to get his six months of testing in with USADA to even be eligible to compete ... barring any special exemptions.
Regardless, Chandler is confident everything will come to fruition as planned and leans toward a November meeting in Madison Square Garden.
“It definitely makes the show better if you know when the fight’s happening,” Chandler said of TUF 31. “Conor came out the other day and said there’s gonna be a fight announcement soon or a date soon, so I think I won’t really get nervous or anything about it until June 1. That’s kind of when I put my time limit on it if you will. For now, we’re gonna enjoy the ride. Conor loves the sport of mixed martial arts, he loves being the guy, he loves being in the bright lights and those stadiums and whatnot. So, I think he’s coming back. He can’t do all this and not come back.
“I think he knows that [I have more knockout power than him], which really excites me. Everybody knows that with a typical Michael Chandler fight I’m gonna put my foot on the gas, get in his face, put him on his back foot early, and try to knock him out. My mystic Mike prediction: I knock him out in the second round. I beat him up pretty bad, wear him down in the first, make him second guess himself then bam. Hit him with a hard one in the second. He goes down, we jump on the cage, maybe a backflip, we’ll see.”
Disagreement. Tyson Fury blasts ‘little p****’ Joe Rogan for picking Jon Jones in fight, Francis Ngannou responds.
Heat. Jon Jones issues fiery response to Tyson Fury over Joe Rogan comments: ‘Struck a nerve’.
Winning. Colby Covington gives advice to Aljamain Sterling on haters: ‘Just keep silencing them, that’s the best revenge’.
Reaction. Ben Askren calls out ‘almost hypocritical’ Jon Jones for criticizing Francis Ngannou.
Comeback. Paige VanZant expected to return for another fight in BKFC.
Movement. Junior dos Santos praises Francis Ngannou for making a difference in MMA: ‘Many others would have bent to the system’.
Business. PFL CEO Peter Murray calls Francis Ngannou signing MMA’s ‘most lucrative’ deal, says PFL is hands-off with boxing career.
Bantamweight. Cory Sandhagen argues Henry Cejudo shouldn’t be able to come back, lose, and then get choice of fights.
Activity. Ian Machado Garry explains Neil Magny callout, plans to compete twice more in 2023.
Between the Links.
A McGregor moment.
Vadim Nemkov’s Bellator stoppage catalog.
Need more Kanako in our lives..
Wonderboy combo aid.
No Bets Barred. MMA Fighting’s Jed Meshew and Conner Burks discuss if Mackenzie Dern will rebound with win over Angela Hill at UFC Vegas 73.
Heck of a Morning. MMA Fighting’s Mike Heck reacts to Dustin Poirier vs. Justin Gaethje 2 at UFC 291 for the BMF title.
SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
I have been here the whole time @Tyson_Fury. Since none of these boxers want to fight, let’s make it official ☝— Francis Ngannou (@francis_ngannou) May 18, 2023
Some of these younger guys were in middle school when I first got into the @ufc pic.twitter.com/A8XspXJw0v— Tim Elliott (@TElliott125) May 18, 2023
Official! @JonnyBones @anthonypettisfc— Anthony Pettis (@Showtimepettis) May 18, 2023
June 11th Milwaukee Wisconsin
️: https://t.co/A98qcarD4N pic.twitter.com/aLz1EzUP65
Self Made pic.twitter.com/AMrDaj30Y3— Brendan Loughnane (@BrendanMMA) May 18, 2023
When the GOAT beat Chandler— Bellator MMA (@BellatorMMA) May 18, 2023
Bellator's #P4P #1 @PatricioPitbull challenges @sergiopettis for his Bantamweight belt LIVE from the @WintrustArena, June 16th
#Bellator297 LIVE on @SHOsports
️ Get your tickets @Ticketmaster pic.twitter.com/VV5rTslL7Z
This would be iconic. 2 fight deal - boxing and mma. Francis Ngannou vs Tyson Fury.— Jake Paul (@jakepaul) May 18, 2023
One fight in the UK, one fight in Africa. I know Francis is man enough to get into the boxing ring. @Tyson_Fury you man enough to get in the cage? pic.twitter.com/lpuR7v3uGm
The faces of your #UFCVegas73 pic.twitter.com/wKuXHozhta— UFC (@ufc) May 18, 2023
Hey @ZhakoZhumagulov I know what it's like to have judges take away your wins, so I'll be coming ready too. pic.twitter.com/kJ7n4GNIpn— Felipinho Bunes (@BunesFelipinho) May 18, 2023
Manel Krape didn’t want to fight, so looking for new guys— Muhammad Mokaev (@muhammadmokaev) May 18, 2023
I still believe Elliot and Schnell have a bigger heart to take this fight than krape pic.twitter.com/ddXOxPPtsI
Yesir, let me get through June— Tim Elliott (@TElliott125) May 19, 2023
Lol this gym is just a bunch of big ass kids, and I love it @francis_ngannou @Eric_XCMMA pic.twitter.com/v4xdS1Wsvd— Chris Curtis The Action Man (@Actionman513) May 18, 2023
KenFlo + Cyborg.
Ran into MMA legend @kennyflorian at the @SwanBitcoin #BTC2023 kickoff party! pic.twitter.com/5qoIOxRwNj— CrisCyborg.Com (@criscyborg) May 19, 2023
I stop him in 4. Watch the tapes— KAMARU USMAN (@USMAN84kg) May 18, 2023
Can’t wait for @ONEChampionship to have another fight in the US now that they hit the US market with a bang!! pic.twitter.com/JVaLzzCg87— Sage Northcutt (@sagenorthcutt) May 18, 2023
1, 2, 3.
Shayna Baszler takes a burning hammer from Josh Barnett @QoSBaszler @JoshLBarnett pic.twitter.com/fUxzo0vkWL— Robert de niro (@3_maldini3) May 18, 2023
Extra violent MMA.
A welcome throwback.
GFC pic.twitter.com/GLmPicSR0T— D (@darrentill2) May 19, 2023
GFC pic.twitter.com/Zoe7jYizjh— D (@darrentill2) May 19, 2023
GFC pic.twitter.com/P5JVoAwCZL— D (@darrentill2) May 19, 2023
Zhalgas Zhumagulov (14-8) vs. Felipe Bunes (13-6); UFC Vegas 75, June 17
Jamall Emmers (19-6) vs. Jack Jenkins (11-2); UFC Jacksonville, June 24
Genaro Valdez (10-2) vs. Evan Elder (7-2); UFC Vegas 77, July 15
Jun Yong Park (16-5) vs. Albert Duraev (16-4); UFC Vegas 77, July 15
Dustin Jacoby (18-7-1) vs. Kennedy Nzechukwu (12-3); UFC Fight Night, Aug. 5
Tanner Boser (20-10-1) vs. Aleksa Camur (6-2); UFC Fight Night, Aug. 5
Virna Jandiroba (19-3) vs. Tatiana Suarez (10-0); UFC Fight Night, Aug. 5
Logan Storley (14-2) vs. Brennan Ward (17-6); Bellator, Aug. 11
Chandler very clearly knows what his place would be at welterweight. Kind of refreshing.
Happy Friday, gang. Thanks for reading!
Should Chandler move to welterweight?
This poll is closed
If you find something you’d like to see in the Morning Report, hit up @DrakeRiggs_ on Twitter and let him know about it. Also, follow MMAFighting on Instagram and like us on Facebook.