Michael Chandler, former Bellator lightweight champion, has expressed his concern that Conor McGregor’s legacy will be somewhat tarnished if they do not fight.
Both fighters were announced as coaches for The Ultimate Fighter Season 31, with a fight expected to happen after the show airs. However, McGregor has yet to be approved to fight again after exiting the USADA testing pool following his loss to Dustin Poirier. Concerns have been raised about the future of the match-up.
Chandler spoke about the situation during an interview with ESPN‘s Brett Okamoto. Saying that he hopes Conor is able to get back into the pool and that they can eventually meet in the octagon.
The American fighter added that he believes a fight between the two would be one of the biggest in UFC history and that McGregor’s legacy would suffer if they don’t face off.
“I think he’s coming back. It sure would be a huge stain on his legacy, leading everybody down a road, making people think he’s coming back, and then kind of chickening out at the very end and only doing it for the publicity. That, to me, screams insecurity, and he’s trying to stay relevant rather than seeing through your commitment.”
Michael Chandler is ready for Conor McGregor
USADA requires every fighter to undergo six months of random drug testing before being cleared to compete. However, Conor expressed his desire to receive an exemption from the agency to require only two clean tests upon his return from injury.
Michael Chandler also discussed this issue in his interview with Brett Okamoto. Stating that McGregor’s exemption request would not be fair to other fighters who undergo rigorous testing.
Chandler emphasized the importance of maintaining a level playing field in combat sports and suggested that fighters who take shortcuts or cheat would ultimately pay a price.
“I could see it very well being just two clean tests. I have no problem with it being two clean tests, I could care less. If you do two clean tests, sounds to me like you’re clean. I’m ready for him to be cleared or at least get that answer [for when he will be cleared]. At this point, we don’t have an answer.”
Conor’s last bout was in July 2021, where he lost to Dustin Poirier in a highly anticipated trilogy fight. Unfortunately, the fight ended abruptly when McGregor suffered a severe leg injury.
On the other hand, Chandler’s last fight was in November 2022, where he also faced Dustin Poirier but lost the fight. It remains to be seen whether the two UFC superstars will eventually face each other in the Octagon by the end of this year or not.