Michael Chandler is anticipating a second-round knockout over Conor McGregor after the pair have finished filming the upcoming season of ‘The Ultimate Fighter‘.
On Saturday past, UFC President Dana White announced that ‘TUF’ Season 31 coaches would feature McGregor and Chandler. In the wake of the season, the lightweight standouts are expected to collide towards the end of the year.
Since exploding onto the scene and cementing himself as a fan favorite, Chandler has competed five times since debuting in 2021. McGregor, just twice in the same span.
Despite having a ‘life of luxury’, Chandler does believe a second stint coaching on ‘TUF’, with a thrilling matchup with himself at the end, will motivate the Irishman, something he’s perhaps been lacking as of late.
Michael Chandler talks The Ultimate Fighter 31 with Conor McGregor
“I have been very active. I just signed with the promotion a little over two years ago, and I have fought the who’s who, the toughest strength of schedule that maybe anybody ever has coming into the UFC,” Chandler recently said on ESPN’s SportsCenter. “… Conor has had the luxury of stepping away from the sport because he has a very padded bank account. He does live a life of luxury.
“We can’t make the mistake of thinking (he’s) lost his passion for mixed martial arts … It’s his first love. I think we’re gonna see a nostalgia of Conor McGregor. He’s gonna find his roots again.”
Over the years ‘TUF’ has lost its value and its highly regarded reputation. This is mainly due to the public’s lack of appetite to tune in and watch the coaches the company have selected. One way to regain the viewership and the buzz surrounding the reality TV show is to bring back the sport’s biggest name, which is exactly the route White has gone for.
Chandler claims the excitement lies in not knowing what McGregor will show up on any given day. In the past, we’ve witnessed the former two-weight division champion take a respectful approach, as well as a more aggressive and ferocious approach. Nevertheless, Chandler is enthusiastic about going head-to-head, not only in the cage but in the pre-fight mental warfare battle.
Chandler is excited for the challenge
“It’s a challenge that I’m excited [for] and willfully throwing myself into. I have visualized it. I have thought about it,” Chandler said. “We’ve loved Conor because he’s interesting, because he’s interested. Rest assured, he’s doing his homework on me. He knows how many times I lost, he knows who I’ve lost to. He knows in what form or fashion I have lost. He knows what the chinks in my armor are. He knows where I might have doubts or insecurities. He loves to well up old emotions and make them brand new and make you trip over yourself live on TV. I’m expecting that.
“He’s a witty guy with a wicked tongue and he’s got the gift of gab. I’m excited to fight fire with fire in that regard. I’m excited for the tension, the competition, the linguistic battles that we’re going to get into…”
The former Bellator champion has always expressed his desire to be involved in the biggest fights under the brightest lights, and he knows he will have to play his part during ‘TUF’ to help promote the bout with McGregor.
“Make no mistake, I respect Conor for what he has done for the sport, I respect him for the life he has built for him and his family, the legacy he will have when he does step away from the sport,” Chandler said. “I’m coming for the win later on down the line on pay-per-view. As the competition starts, I’m already studying old seasons of ‘The ultimate fighter’, his season prior against Urijah Faber years ago. [I’m] watching the way he carried himself, watching the ebbs and flow of how this show goes so we can give the fans what they want.”
A second round stoppage for Chandler?
Having now been granted an opportunity to fight the sport’s biggest star and attain the biggest paycheck of his career, Chandler plans to grab it with both hands and stop McGregor within two rounds.
“I think first round I’m going to get in his face right away, keep my foot on the gas peddle, make him second guess himself, make him take steps backwards right away. After that first round finishes, I come of the stool, meet him in the center of the octagon, and I land something after he’s slowed down a little bit, after I’ve gotten my range a little bit. That’s my prediction, hopefully it comes to fruition.”
Conor McGregor has been stopped within the distance four times during his time with the UFC. Can Michael Chandler become the fifth?