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Is Conor McGregor vs. Michael Chandler In Doubt Again? 3 Potential Replacement Opponents for the UFC 303 Main Event

Conor McGregor
Credit: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Just over 2 weeks before Conor McGregor and Michael Chandler are scheduled to headline UFC 303 for the promotion’s annual International Fight Week, questions remain about whether or not the long-awaited meeting between the TUF 31 coaches is still happening.

Also Read: Islam Makhachev Manager Blasts Conor McGregor In Hilarious Rant About Rumored Drug Use

Speculation began when a press conference in Dublin, Ireland to hype the event was abruptly “postponed” hours before it was set to start on June 3. With little indication from the UFC or the fighters’ respective teams (aside from Chandler revealing very little on the Pivot Podcast,) fans have largely been left in the dark. 

Last week, Ariel Helwani reported that the UFC sought potential replacements before stating that the company felt “great optimism” toward Conor McGregor stepping into the Octagon on June 29. Tuesday, the journalist reported that the positivity was short lived as more efforts to line up substitutions were underway. 

As fight fans play the waiting game, here are three potential bouts that can replace Conor McGregor.

Max Holloway

conor mcgregor
Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Among the first names brought up to take the spot currently slotted for “The Notorious” was his former opponent Max Holloway. Since that 2013 Fight Night, Holloway became arguably the best featherweight in MMA history. But his trip up to lightweight at UFC 300 against Justin Gaethje not only provided an all-time great knockout but also secured the BMF title.

Putting that ceremonial title on the line against Chandler just might be the UFC’s best bet on preserving at least some of the star power Conor McGregor provided.

Alexander Volkanovski

conor mcgregor
Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

The former featherweight champion is no stranger to jumping off of the couch to save a UFC event. Two weeks before UFC 294, Volkanovski replaced Charles Oliveira to rematch Islam Makhachev. Of course, things didn’t go his way that evening, but it hasn’t stopped him from raising his hand to volunteer for another short-notice spot.

Also Read: UFC Tonight: Complete fight card, latest odds, start times, TV info and channel for Saturday’s event

Considering his two consecutive knockout losses, the idea of Volkanovski jumping back in the fire, especially a division higher, has lost a lot of luster. That being said, the similar body types and mutual love of a good old-fashioned scrap could make for a fun fight against Chandler. 

Arman Tsarukyan

conor mcgregor
Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Arman Tsarukyan’s win over Oliveira at UFC 300 made him the clear number-one contender for the lightweight crown. By defeating Chandler in the main event, he could cement his case even further while also adding a fan favorite to his resume. 

From a pure merit standpoint, this is the best fight available if McGregor is indeed sitting UFC 303 out. If Chandler hadn’t elected to stay on the shelf awaiting his “red panty night,” it’s highly likely these two would have crossed paths already. However, this would be a last resort option for the UFC as the pairing wouldn’t generate a fraction of the mainstream interest as the originally planned main event. 

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Ant Walker is a native of the Washington DC area that now lives in Los Angeles. He has been... More about Anthony Walker

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