Despite suffering a third round submission loss to former interim lightweight champion, Dustin Poirier at UFC 281 earlier this month, lightweight contender, Michael Chandler remains a firm favorite to welcome former two-weight champion, Conor McGregor back to the Octagon next year.
Chandler, who competed for a vacant lightweight title under the UFC banner back in May of last year, suffered a third round rear-naked choke loss to Poirier at UFC 281 this month, dropping his third Octagon loss during his five-fight tenure with the organization.
Debuting with a stunning first round knockout win over Dan Hooker, Missouri native, Michael Chandler would then drop a knockout defeat of his own against former champions, Charles Oliveira, and Justin Gaethje.
Rebounding earlier this year with a spectacular, Knockout of the Year contender, Chandler stopped former interim titleholder, Tony Ferguson with a front kick knockout.
Calling for a matchup with sport icon, McGregor off the back of his victory against Ferguson, Michael Chandler still remains a firm betting favorite to fight the Dubliner in his UFC return next year – as narrow as +150 on some markets, in fact. Many markets holds a partnership agreement in regard to betting and wagering.
For McGregor, the 34-year-old Crumlin native has yet to return to active competition since fracturing his left tibia and fibula against the aforenoted, Poirier in July of last year.
Conor McGregor must first complete 6 months in the USADA testing pool before a potential Michael Chandler clash
The former undisputed lightweight and featherweight champion has stressed his desire to test welterweight waters in his Octagon comeback next year – and has been linked with a fight against Michael Chandler continually during his period on the sideline.
Slated to require a period of six months in the USADA (United States Anti-Doping) testing pool before scoring a return to the UFC next year, McGregor was the subject of a call out from Chandler despite his loss to Poirier, who floated an International Fight Week headliner opposite the former in July next.
“People will say I’m chasing the Red Panty night, and I’m chasing the payday, and yes, that’s a part of it, it’s always going to be a part of the conversation that people talk about when you’re fighting Conor McGregor,” Michael Chandler said. “But I want battlegrounds of epic proportions. I want the brightest lights. I want the biggest platforms. I want to go out there on the verge of a heart attack because the moment is so big.”
“And what is bigger than fighting Conor McGregor?” He said. “And at this point, him coming back, what is bigger than Conor McGregor stepping into the Octagon with – I’ve got to be the most electrifying man in the UFC right now? … It’s the biggest fight to make, it’s the most PPV sales that can be made fight now, at this current juncture, in the entire world of MMA, I think Conor knows it, I think the UFC knows it, and I think it’s going to happen International Fight Week of 2023.”
Without a victory since his most recent appearance at the welterweight limit back in 2020, McGregor most recently landed a quickfire 40-second high kick and strikes knockout win over the retired, Donald Cerrone in January of that year.