Former UFC double-champion Conor McGregor and ex-Bellator lightweight champ Michael Chandler are expected to go to battle sometime later this year, after the airing of the 31st season of The Ultimate Fighter wraps up. In the meantime, however, analysts, fans and even other professional fighters are already starting to weigh in on how they think the bout will play out once the two men enter the Octagon.
One of those paying attention to TUF 31 will be former UFC bantamweight contender and leader of Team Alpha Male, Urijah Faber. In a recent conversation with ESPN, the ‘California Kid’ gave his thoughts on who he’d favor in the battle of lightweights. Though Faber admitted he has a tendency to always go with the wrestler in fights like this, at the moment he feels Conor McCregor’s striking prowess just might do enough to get the Irishman the win.
“Traditionally in the past – you know, old-school MMA – I would have said the high-level wrestler’s always going to win,” Faber told ESPN (transcribed by MMA Junkie). “But Conor, I feel, has closed those gaps a lot. I think Chandler takes a lot of big risks and likes to fight wild and aggressive, and I’ve seen many times where Conor’s power is just too much and his precision’s too much, and I think it’s going to be, in a five-round fight, leaning toward McGregor.”
Urijah Faber recalls TUF season against Conor McGregor
When it comes to being the captain of a team on The Ultimate Fighter against Conor McGregor, Faber knows a thing or two. Having coached opposite the ‘Notorious’ back at TUF 22, the 45-year-old knows just how heated the trash talking and mind games are likely to get.
Nevertheless, he offered some advice for Chandler ahead of the season. Most importantly: stand your ground and be yourself.
“Chandler and I are pretty different guys, and they’re going to have a much different relationship than Conor and I,” Faber said. “I would just say the same advice I’d give anybody: Be yourself and stand your ground and things will play out the way they do.
“I think they’re going to be heated. They are actually fighting and they’re going to have a lot of build up. When I spoke to Conor about this situation, he said this season is different because he was coming off of his first big payday and his first world championship (on Season 22). This time, he’s focused on making this his camp, so I think he’s going to be a little more on edge, to be honest.”
TUF 31 starts airing next week
Urijah Faber (35-11) retired from MMA in December 2019, following a knockout loss to Petr Yan. In his long, illustrious career Faber scored wins over some of the most notable names of his generation, including Dominick Cruz, Brian Bowles and Eddie Wineland. The biggest accomplishment of his career came in March 2006, when Faber defeated Cole Escovedo to win the WEC featherweight belt, a title he would go on to defend five times.
The TUF 31 season is expected to start on May 30 and finish on August 15. The show will feature a roster of bantamweight and lightweight fighters. UFC veterans such as Brad Katona, Timur Valiev, Jason Knight and Roosevelt Roberts will be contestants on the show, among other athletes. A finale for the season has yet to be determined by the promotionThe match between Conor McGregor and Michael Chandler is expected to be officially announced sometime over the next few months during the season’s airtime.
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