UFC president Dana White confirmed the return of Conor McGregor in a highly anticipated fight with Michael Chandler.
Former two-division champion McGregor has been out of action for over a year and a half since taking on Dustin Poirier in Jul. 2021 at UFC 264. He suffered a horrific leg break injury in the opening round and needed to undergo surgery following the contest. While on the sidelines, he expressed interest in a number of matchups but provided no concrete timeline for his return.
White took to Twitter this morning to announce McGregor’s comeback to competition as a coach against Chandler on the reality mixed martial arts competition show “The Ultimate Fighter.”
“We just confirmed the coaches for season 31 of ‘The Ultimate Fighter.’ Conor McGregor and Michael Chandler will go head-to-head as the coaches of TUF; Team McGregor vs. Team Chandler,” said White. “Then at the end of the season, McGregor and Chandler will fight on ESPN+ pay-per-view and I do not have a date or location for that but we will announce it soon.”
The season premieres on May 30th and runs through August 15 on ESPN and ESPN+.
Chandler Reacted to the Announcement
‘Iron’ Mike’s addition to the UFC roster injected a ton of excitement into the lightweight division. The former Bellator champion got straight to work with elite opponents and became an instant fan favorite for his fighting style. He had been rallying for a shot at McGregor. After scoring a Knockout of the Year-worthy finish of Tony Ferguson, Chandler delivered an electrifying call out of the Irish icon.
He shared his reaction after getting booked to welcome McGregor back inside the octagon.
“Team McGregor vs. Team Chandler, coaching ‘The Ultimate Fighter.’ I’m heading to Vegas here very soon to film in the same vicinity, the same city as my future opponent Conor McGregor,” said Chandler. “My team versus his team.
“The competition starts right now. Ushering in these young men and women, imparting my wisdom upon them and every single fight matters. I want to win the competition first of all. We’re going to make the dreams of one of these young athletes true to get signed by the UFC and get a UFC contract.”
Chandler will look to get back in the winning column after dropping his last outing to Poirier in an instant classic at UFC 281 three months ago.
It’s Not Clear What Weight the Fight Will Be At
Poirier handed the ‘Notorious’ two straight losses in his most recent appearances. McGregor has only competed four times since 2018 and dropped three of those bouts, with a sole win coming over Donald Cerrone in Jan. 2020 at UFC 246.
He will look to get back to winning ways against a tough opponent in Chandler. It’s unclear whether the fight will be contested at lightweight or welterweight. While McGregor started his UFC career in the featherweight division, where he’s a former champion, he moved up to 155 pounds and the 170-pound categories.
Although Chandler’s a top-five ranked lightweight contender, he would not mind taking the fight at welterweight.