Less than a week after Tony Ferguson let it out of the bag that Conor McGregor would be a coach for the next season of The Ultimate Fighter, we’ve gotten confirmation and a juicy new layer to accompany it.
The controversial McGregor will return after two years after his defeat to Dustin Poirier at UFC x at the end of the season in a dream match against Michael Chandler. McGregor has been rehabilitating a leg injury he suffered against Poirier, and won’t have to drain down to lightweight as the proposed bout will take place at 170 pounds.
With The Ultimate Fighter serving dual purposes as a way to expose new talent and generate hype for a major fight down the line, this season should be huge. While the fight between McGregor and Chandler doesn’t have an official date, it’ll have to be around September or October as McGregor has yet to re-enter the USADA testing pools.
Both McGregor and Chandler have not had a strong run in their last few fights in the Octagon. McGregor hasn’t won a meaningful fight since beating Eddie Alvarez back in 2016, whereas Chandler has gone 2-3 since joining the UFC in 2021.
Michael Chandler is a big risk for Conor McGregor
Make no mistake, McGregor coming in at anything less than 100% won’t be enough to beat Chandler. The severity of McGregor’s injury, the length of his inactivity, and the presumed loss of all that muscle mass he put on for the Road House remake he’s starring in is going to be a problem.
While Chandler hasn’t had the strongest of runs, he’s been competitive against the best lightweights in the world. Losses to Charles Oliveira, Justin Gaethje, and Poirier were all great fights. It would be hard to imagine this past prime version of McGregor looking anywhere as good as Chandler did in defeat, let alone win.
This should be a vicious battle while it lasts. Chandler fights like he has no concern for his well-being, and McGregor is going to be relieved he’s fighting a striker who is going to be right in front of him all night.
When McGregor vs. Chandler is formally announced, expect a massive media firestorm to follow.