UFC president, Dana White has welcomed the possibility of booking a lightweight matchup between the #5 ranked division contender, Michael Chandler, and the former two-weight promotional champion, the #8 rated, Conor McGregor next – claiming the bout makes “sense” given the lightweight lay of the land.
Chandler, a former three-time Bellator MMA lightweight champion, once challenged for UFC lightweight gold back in May of last year, suffering a second round knockout loss to former titleholder, Charles Oliveira.
Rebounding from a unanimous decision loss to Justin Gaethje back in November, Chandler managed to land a brutal, Knockout of the Year contender at UFC 274 last month – finishing former interim gold holder, Tony Ferguson with a second round front kick.
Following the victory over the Oxnard veteran, Chandler called out both Oliveira and Gaethje for rematch outings, as well as offering to fight former champion, McGregor at the welterweight limit in the Dubliner’s return.
Sidelined since July last year, McGregor headlined UFC 264 against former interim champion and three-time foe, Dustin Poirier – suffering a doctor’s stoppage TKO defeat against the Lafayette native after he fractured his left tibia.
Targeting a return at the welterweight limit as he’s tasked with rebounding from back-to-back losses for the first, McGregor has been linked to a fight against Chandler in his Octagon return by White – who claimed that he was interested in exploring the matchup.
“I don’t really know, I like (Michael) Chandler vs. Conor (McGregor) after Chandler’s last fight,” Dana White told TMZ during a recent interview. “There’s plenty of fights to make, I don’t know if that’s the one (Conor McGregor and Jorge Masvidal), but we’ll see what the landscape looks like when Conor comes back.”
“I’m just saying after his last interview – his last fight, Conor’s ranked number eight, he’s (Chandler) ranked number five, it makes a lot of sense right now,” Dana White said.
Dana White teases a Conor McGregor comeback before the end of 2022
As far as a timeline for a potential Octagon return for the 33-year-old McGregor, White expects the Crumlin striker to return in 2023 – if not toward the end of this year, in fact.
“I think he’s (Conor McGregor) getting better, he’s starting to ramp up his training some more, and I’m hoping at the end of the year, early next year,” Dana White said.” (Transcribed by MMA Junkie)