The mixed martial arts community is buzzing with anticipation as fans eagerly await the announcement of the date for McGregor vs. Chandler bout. With five episodes of TUF 31 already aired, the stage is set for these two UFC stars to face off in the Octagon. However, an obstacle stands in the way of officially booking the match.
One crucial requirement that McGregor has yet to fulfill is re-entering the USADA testing pool, which necessitates six months of testing. Consequently, doubts have started to emerge regarding McGregor’s return, with speculation that he may not step back into the ring until 2024.
Amidst the uncertainty, Michael Chandler remains optimistic about the matchup. In an interview with Daniel Cormier, Chandler stated: “I think Conor [McGregor] is coming back. I don’t think he wants to stain in his legacy by leading us all down this road of I’m doing TUF, I’m fighting Michael Chandler, oh, by the way, I’m not coming back… He’s coming back. Supposedly, there was a countdown with USADA, six months, all that other stuff. That’s not for me to choose or decide.”
Recently, Conor McGregor became ineligible to return in 2023 according to USADA standards. But Michael Chandler thinks McGregor might be declared eligible despite USADA’s denial of an exemption.
During the same interview with Daniel Cormier, Chandler expressed his confidence that the highly-anticipated matchup would take place before the end of the year. He said: “People are talking about exemptions, of course, that’s all on the table. All I know is I’m controlling the controllables. I also know either way I’m gonna keep on moving forward.”
“I do believe I fight Conor within the next six months, and it’s gonna be one of the biggest pay-per-views we’ve ever seen, and I’m gonna go out there and knock him out within the first two rounds.”
McGregor’s last match took place in July 2021, where he suffered a devastating injury that ended his bout against Dustin Poirier. Since then, McGregor has been on a long road to recovery.
Meanwhile, Chandler has been active in the Octagon and competed in three matches during McGregor’s absence. In one of his encounters, he engaged in a fierce bout against Justin Gaethje. However, he ended up losing the match by unanimous decision.
Next, Chandler experienced a spectacular knockout victory over Tony Ferguson. His most recent match occurred in November 2022, where he lost against Poirier in a thrilling match.
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