Despite the current uncertainties surrounding Conor McGregor's return to the Octagon, Michael Chandler remains steadfast in his belief that he will eventually step into the cage against the former two-division UFC champion.
The anticipation has been building since Chandler and McGregor served as opposing coaches on Season 31 of 'The Ultimate Fighter,' with the finale airing on August 15th.
While Dana White and the UFC had hyped up the idea of Chandler and McGregor clashing after their coaching stint, a couple of hurdles currently stand in the way. McGregor is currently dealing with a legal situation stemming from allegations of assault, which he vehemently denies, and he has yet to enter the mandatory USADA testing pool required for fighters to compete in the UFC.
Expressing his confidence in McGregor's eventual return, Chandler spoke candidly on Daniel Cormier's YouTube channel, addressing the possibility of McGregor backing out:
"I think Conor’s coming back. I don’t think he wants to stain his legacy by leading us all down this road of, 'I’m doing the Ultimate Fighter, I’m fighting Michael Chandler – Oh, by the way, never mind. I’m not coming back."
Regarding the USADA testing pool, Chandler acknowledged the speculations surrounding exemptions and emphasized that the decision lies beyond his control:
"Supposedly there was a countdown with USADA, six months, and all that other stuff. That’s not for me to choose or decide. Have there been exemptions before? People are talking about exemptions. Of course, that’s all on the table."
Undeterred by the potential roadblocks, Chandler concluded with a bold prediction for the fight's outcome:
"All I know is I’m controlling the controllable, and either way, I’m gonna keep on moving forward, and I do believe I fight Conor within the next six months, and it’s going to be one of the biggest pay-per-views that we have ever seen, and I’m gonna go out there and knock him out within the first two rounds."
While the likelihood of a Chandler vs. McGregor bout occurring this year appears slim, as McGregor would require an exemption from the USADA testing pool, the tenacious Chandler remains confident that the fight will eventually materialize.
The question remains: Will Conor McGregor make his much-anticipated return to the Octagon to face Michael Chandler, or is it all smoke and mirrors? Only time will reveal the truth.
Nevertheless, the potential clash between these two dynamic fighters promises to be a monumental pay-per-view event, brimming with excitement and the possibility of a decisive knockout within the first two rounds.