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Conor McGregor is set to return to the UFC this year with his opponent now confirmed. Michael Chandler has been calling for a fight with McGregor ever since the explosive lightweight joined the company in 2021. The former Bellator champion has been involved in five incredible bouts since he joined, and now gets his wish to face ‘Notorious’ after multiple call-outs.
A three-time lightweight champion in Bellator, where he spent 10 years, Chandler finally decided to join the UFC towards the end of 2020, and had his first fight in January 2021 – on the same card as McGregor’s second bout against Dustin Poirier.
Chandler had been the back-up for that fight if Poirier was unable to go, and first made his intentions clear on wanting to face the legendary Irishman. Chandler told Dazn: “If Poirier goes down with COVID or whatnot and that they’re going to keep Conor on the card. I just saw an interview Conor did talking about me and Hooker being the co-main event, and if Dustin fell off that Conor would gladly face either of us.
“So I think Hooker and I both know we’re in that position. It would be a very, very interesting scenario to see who would end up getting that slot, and I would just pray that it would be me.”
Chandler won his debut bout against Hooker, before being defeated in the lightweight championship bout with Charles Oliviera and then suffering a loss to Justin Gaethje in the fight of the year in 2021.
Chandler then defeated Tony Ferguson with a vicious front kick, which also earned him a performance of the night, as he then had more words for McGregor. He said: “Conor McGregor, you’ve got to come back and fight somebody. I am the most entertaining lightweight on the planet. But I want to up the stakes, Conor. I want you at your biggest, I want you at your baddest and I want you at your best. You and me at 170 this summer, this fall, this winter. Holler at your boy!”
And earlier this week, Chandler told Michael Bisping on his podcast: “I want the fight. Everyone 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 it’s the fight that people are talking about. Man, huge fight. Can you imagine the first round? Can you imagine The Foggy Dew and then my song comes on and we go out there? Just two dudes trying to finish each other in the first round. Massive.”
And on Saturday, the conditions of their bout was confirmed, with the two set to face off – likely to be in August or September – as they will first coach teams in The Ultimate Fighter before going head-to-head themselves at the end of the season.
McGregor has previously appeared on the show as a coach, when he came up against Uriah Faber, but the two did not fight at the end due to being in different weight classes. This will be the Irishman’s first bout in over two years, after breaking his leg in a loss to Dustin Poirier in July 2021.
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