In early February, plans to pit Michael Chandler against Conor McGregor following coaching stints on The Ultimate Fighter were announced.
As 2023 winds down and four months has passed since that season of TUF, the absence of McGregor and the former Bellator lightweight champion on the official schedule has not gone unnoticed.
While admitting that there have been “some ups and downs waiting for this fight,” Michael Chandler is determined to have his red panty night.
“I have not given myself a hard deadline that says, ‘Hey, this date we’re moving on and we’re going to fight the next guy, the next contender to get me closer to that title shot,” he told Sportsnaut.
Despite time continuing to tick away as the lightweight division moves along without him, Michael Chandler feels the benefits of facing the Irish superstar is “the right decision to make.”
“There’s no doubt, no ifs ands or buts about it. Locking that cage door with Conor McGregor on the other side of a UFC Octagon is the biggest platform that a UFC fighter ever dreams of…I want to fight Conor McGregor and it’s going to be at a huge huge UFC event wherever it is, whenever it is. I’m going to show up and I’m going to knock him out within the first two rounds.”
While he did not give specifics, Chandler credited an unnamed inside source for knowing the bout is “going to happen by a certain time” and staying ready for that long-awaited phone call.
Michael Chandler’s Year Off
In the meantime, the four-time post-fight bonus winner has been enjoying life outside of competition with family, various business ventures, and allowing himself time to heal in the 13 months since his thrilling submission loss to Dustin Poirier at UFC 281.
Chandler has found the time away, in particular his investment in the ironically named Hiatus Tequila brand, as a “good time to take stock in who I am and who I’d be outside of just fighting, outside of just being an athlete.”
The fight between the pair of liquor entrepreneurs and former champions is expected to serve as a main event to one of 2024’s biggest events when it is finally set in stone.