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Michael Chandler gives timeframe for when he thinks Conor McGregor will return

No one wants former two-division champion Conor McGregor to return more than Michael Chandler.  “Iron” last fought in November 2022.  He and McGregor were opposing coaches on The Ultimate Fighter 31 which began filming in February 2023 and aired in May through August last summer.  A fight between McGregor and Chandler has been in the works for well over a year.  Chandler has opted to wait for McGregor to be ready to fight instead of accepting a bout against a different opponent.

“For me, the last year and a half since I got the call in January of 2022 about The Ultimate Fighter, there was a little bit of certainty there doing The Ultimate Fighter.  Originally it was, hey we’re going to fight in September after the show.  Obviously we know how that played out,” explained Chandler during a media crum at UFC 303.  

“We got booked for the following June.  The last couple of weeks I honestly was just living in it.  The press conference gets canceled…  Then it was just rumors, the rumor mill.  With an organization, a worldwide organization as big as the UFC, people are going to talk.  People are going to speculate,” Chandler continued.  “All the way up until the last moment when I got the call, Conor’s never pulled out of a fight whether it was an injury, whether it was whatever the circumstances.  I stayed positive and stayed training and then I got the phone call.”

When McGregor eventually does return, Chandler has no doubt that he’ll be the Irishman’s opponent.  He was adamant that McGregor’s road back to the UFC runs through him.

Related: Jiri Prochazka questions retirement after UFC 303 defeat

“I’m not really that worried about it.  Conor can’t, at this point, and I’ve said this publicly, I’m not letting him off the hook,” Chandler said.  “He’d love to come back and fight someone other than Michael Chandler with what I bring to the octagon.  I think there’s no way he comes back to the UFC and doesn’t fight me.  

“If I do pivot, if there are other names being thrown out, if there are huge fights that I can go ahead and pivot and take, whenever he is ready to come back his road back to the UFC goes straight through Nashville, Tennessee and Michael Chandler.  And that’s it.”

Chandler cited ‘sources close to Conor’ and gave a timeframe for when he believes McGregor will return.  According to Chandler, McGregor making the walk to the octagon could be just around the corner.  

“Sources close to Conor I’m sure know that he’s going to be ready in September, August,” said Chandler.    

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