UFC Bruiser Backed to Be Conor McGregor’s Comeback Opponent

Conor McGregor

Getty Conor McGregor

Former two-division UFC champion Conor McGregor’s return opponent should be lightweight bruiser Michael Chandler, according to fighter-turned-analyst Daniel Cormier.

With McGregor stating on November 23 that he fully intends on fighting in 2023, Cormier gave his take on “Notorious” versus Chandler during a recent episode of his “DC & RC” ESPN show. In short, from what Chandler showed in his UFC 281 rear-naked choke loss to Dustin Poirier earlier in November, Cormier sees McGregor wanting to fight “Iron.”

“I think it’s Michael Chandler,” Cormier said. “I think that Michael Chandler’s last fight is why he might get the Conor McGregor fight. Because RC, we saw him try to wrestle Dustin Poirier, and even though he’s a wrestler and he’s in phenomenal shape, he did get tired in that third round — he got tired. And when he got tired, he made a mistake, and Dustin submitted him.

“But he also was willing to stand with a guy that hits hard, a guy that’s predominantly a striker, and he tested himself. I think because he fights in that way, it makes a guy like McGregor go, ‘Wait a minute, I want him. Because I know this guy’s gonna be there to fight. I know this guy’s gonna be there to hit, and I also know that this guy will not be trying to wrestle me for the entirety of this fight. He’ll fight me. He’ll stand with me and he doesn’t have the background that I have in striking that will allow for me to have an opportunity to beat this dude.’”

Chandler Recently Reaffirmed His Desire to Fight McGregor

Chandler appeared on “The MMA Hour” last week, and he and host Ariel Helwani both agreed that the time was now for fans to watch Iron slug it out with McGregor inside the Octagon.

“So for as far as what is next, you have been very clear,” Helwani said. “It’s time. You’re putting all the chips in. You want one man, one man only. And I said on the show last week, I think it’s the perfect time for it. Where you’re both at, hopefully he comes back — we’re talking about Conor McGregor. This is who you want. And we’re not entertaining anything else. Is that accurate?

“I’m going to be your manager here for a moment. We’re not entertaining anything else. We want Conor McGregor. We want it International Fight Week (in July). We want it in Las Vegas. You haven’t really said that part but I’m just completing the picture here. Is this all accurate? This is what you want?”

“That sure would be a heck of a scenario,” Chandler replied. “I think as you said, the first time I got on the microphone after beating Dan Hooker, called out Conor’s name, did it again after the Tony Ferguson win. Both of those callouts were big and started gaining steam. But, at this point, as this particular time, at this particular moment, it’s a big fight.

“I do think it’s a big fight. I think it’s a fight that would get the juices flowing of the entire mixed martial arts landscape. Let’s be honest, Conor’s the A-side. Conor’s the guy that sells PPV’s no matter what. But, he always does need an interesting dance partner no matter what. You’re going to be hard-pressed to find a guy who’s more of an interesting — guy with the momentum right now — than me. So, that’s what I want.”

Chandler Is 1 of the Most Exciting Action Fighters in the UFC

Although he’s 2-3 inside the UFC’s cage, Chandler is heralded as one of the most exciting action fighters on the roster. Besides his loss to Charles Oliveira when they fought for the vacant 155-pound belt in May 2021, Chandler has received either Fight of the Night or Performance of the Night honors in all of his Octagon clashes.

Since making his promotional debut last year, Chandler has knocked out Dan Hooker and Tony Ferguson and has been defeated by Poirier, Oliveira and Justin Gaethje.

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