While nothing is set in stone, Conor McGregor is slated to fight Michael Chandler for his UFC return. The two fighters coached against each other in the 31st season of The Ultimate Fighter, which is currently airing on ESPN+
As it is customary with TUF, the opposing coaches end up facing each other sometime after the season ends. But these plans may change according to former champion Henry Cejudo.
Cejudo believes Conor McGregor may get another opponent
In his recent sitdown with The Schmo, Cejudo was asked about Conor McGregor’s UFC return. TUF ratings haven’t been great, and “Triple C” says the organization may find another opponent for “The Notorious.”
“I can see them skipping Chandler. I could see Conor just say, ‘Hey, I want this guy.’
“Chandler’s entertaining, but he’s not a big name. There’s no UFC belt around him. He’s not a legend in the UFC. He’s an entertainer of the UFC, but he hasn’t got there yet.”
Apart from what he thinks is a lack of name value, Cejudo isn’t too impressed with what Chandler can bring to the table, as style matchups go.
“I feel like Chandler, if he had the right tactics, he could potentially beat anybody in the world because he has power and he has wrestling.
“But I don’t think he’s really kind of putting those two things together that’s really helped him to become a little more well-rounded in the tactical sense.”
Conor McGregor’s path to a comeback according to Cejudo
McGregor hasn’t fought for the last two years and is currently on a two-fight skid, both of which ended by stoppage. But because of star power alone, Cejudo sees a current champion as a potential opponent for the Irishman.
“Conor’s Conor. He can fight at whatever division if he wants. But he also needs a champion as a dance partner to be able to make that fight happen.
“If the champion wants somebody and he’s able to create a storyline, the UFC can make it happen. Like if I was a champion at 170 or ’55, Conor would be the first dude I would be calling out. That’s a $10M payday. That’s what you get when you fight a Conor McGregor.”
Fellow fighters see Conor McGregor beating Chandler
With regards to the planned Chandler matchup, fellow fighters are seeing an advantage for McGregor. This was Urijah Faber’s prediction:
“Traditionally in the past – you know, old-school MMA – I would have said the high-level wrestler’s always going to win. 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.”
Dustin Poirier, who had shared the Octagon with both fighters, picked his three-time foe as the winner by stoppage.
“I think that if Conor comes back anything like he was with his timing and rhythm, with the injury that he had and this long of a layoff, and we’re not getting any younger either — if he comes back similar to who he was before he left, I think he stops Michael Chandler.
“If Conor is who he was before the injury and stuff, I think two rounds — I think the fight’s over in two rounds.”
The UFC remains uncertain about Conor McGregor vs. Michael Chandler
Meanwhile, the organization remains in limbo about the return of its biggest superstar. UFC president Dana White admitted having difficulty trying to get McGregor back in the mix.
“The one thing you guys have to understand is this kid has so much money. It’s like Khabib [Nurmagomedov] now. These guys got shit-loads of money and it’s hard to reel these guys back in and get them fired up to get in and fight,” White said at the UFC Vegas 74 post-fight scrum.
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