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Around what time could we see the meeting between Conor McGregor and Michael Chandler? Well, nothing’s for sure just yet. But if UFC President Dana White’s word is anything to go by, we might be waiting until leaves have fallen off trees and even snow has come down.
During a post-fight press conference in Las Vegas, Nevada last weekend, UFC President White was asked for an updated timeline on the expected clash between veteran talents McGregor and Chandler. White said he hoped the promotion could make the fight late this year, and that they are currently waiting for McGregor to finish his re-entry into the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency testing pool.
Dana White reassures: ‘There’s a fight’
McGregor and Chandler are the coaches for the upcoming season of reality TV show The Ultimate Fighter. As has been the case in many previous seasons of the show, the expectation is that the coaches on the show will face each other at some point.
The show is scheduled to premiere later this month and run until August. Teaser snippets of McGregor and Chandler’s meetings on the show have already been released.
But there’s one major hold-up: McGregor isn’t in the USADA testing pool necessary for competing in a UFC fight. Article 5.7.3 of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy states that athletes who leave the testing pool must re-join and be part of the pool for at least six months before they are eligible to compete once again. For a few months now, MMA fans have waited with bated breath to see if McGregor has officially re-joined yet.
When asked if there will be an announcement made about the McGregor and Chandler fight while their TUF season airs, White said “that’s correct.”
“There’s a fight,” said White in Las Vegas this weekend. “[McGregor] has to get into the USADA pool first. He’s filling out the paperwork. I don’t know how soon that will be done or what’s going on, but that’s his business that he’s handling with USADA. But it’s all in motion.”
McGregor recently had a similar message for fans. When asked about his USADA situation over the weekend, he stated “that’s done,” and that he will be back to competing “by year end.”
November? December? It’s possible.
Assuming McGregor has just entered the testing pool or is nearly about to, that means he doesn’t have a whole lot of time to compete in 2023. That quick calculation aligns with the timeline that White provided on Saturday. When asked if the plan is to make the fight late this year, White replied “That’s what we’re shooting for.”
“Yeah, hopefully we have a big fight in Madison Square Garden in November, and then a big fight in December,” White said in response.
The expected return for both McGregor and Chandler
The fight between McGregor and Chandler has been in the making for quite some time now. The bout, along with their participation in The Ultimate Fighter, was first announced back in February.
If the fight can be made, it will be his first appearance in more than two years. He last competed in 2021, when he suffered a series of finish losses to Dustin Poirier. In his return, McGregor will be competing for his first win since early 2020.
The fight, if or when it eventually happens, will not be as long of a layoff for Chandler but still undoubtedly be a return for him as well. Chandler’s last fight came at UFC 281 when he suffered a submission loss to Poirier in a Fight of the Night performance. The former Bellator Lightweight Champion has won just two of his five UFC appearances, although it is worth noting he has faced some of the top names at 155 pounds.
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