One-time UFC lightweight title challenger, Michael Chandler has denied speculation that he only wants to score a fight with former two-weight gold holder, Conor McGregor to land himself a “red panty night” or a significant payday — insisting he wants the experience and spectacle that the Dubliner brings with his activity inside the sport.
Chandler, who is tasked with snapping a two-fight skid in his fourth Octagon bout, last featured in the main card opener of UFC 268 earlier this month at UFC 268 — dropping a unanimous decision Fight of the Year contender against former interim lightweight best, Justin Gaethje.
The loss came as the Missouri veteran’s second consecutively following a vacant lightweight title challenge loss to current division kingpin, Charles Oliveira back in May as part of UFC 262. Despite starting well against the Brazilian, which included a late first round knockdown — Chandler was himself dropped early in the second frame before succumbing to strikes soon thereafter.
Akin to Chandler, former champion, McGregor is also tasked with halting a two-fight skid — for him though, a string of losses has come for the first time in his career. The 33-year-old headlined UFC 264 back in July, suffering a first round doctor’s stoppage TKO loss to former interim titleholder, Dustin Poirier, after he fractured his left tibia at the end of the first round.
Kicking off this year with the first knockout loss of his professional mixed martial arts career, Crumlin native, McGregor dropped a second round knockout defeat to Poirier — who will challenge Oliveira for lightweight gold at UFC 269 on December 11. off the back of his successive successes against the Dubliner.
Michael Chandler denies he is only hoping to score Conor McGregor fight to land big payday
Soon after his loss to Arizona standout, Gaethje, Chandler suggested a 2022 return in tandem and against McGregor — even claiming he could fight the former featherweight and lightweight champion at welterweight.
Immediately many began to speculate that Chandler was attempting to lure McGregor into a showdown in order to secure himself a lucrative payday, however, those claims could not be further from the truth according to the former.
“I think everybody wants to fight Conor (McGregor), but I want to fight him for a different reason,” Michael Chandler told Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour. “Everybody wants to fight Conor because they know it’s a big payday. I’m here in mixed martial arts to do big things. To be in big fights, big stages, against big opponents, in big arenas, with a lot of eyeballs. That’s what excites me about a fight with Conor.“
“I’ve got a ton of respect for Conor because what Conor has done — and people will discredit what he has done because of certain things that he has said — but what he has done is revolutionize the entire sport,” Michael Chandler continued. “The sport of mixed martial arts is better because Conor McGregor is in it. It’s bigger and it’s got more eyeballs on it because of what Conor has done, so to share the Octagon with him, that’s why I want to do it. It’s not the payday, it’s not the ‘red panty night,’ it’s not the thing that all these other fighters are chasing. Do I want that? Do I want to provide for my family? Of course, But I want epic moments of maximum amounts of impact and that’s what you get when you fight Conor McGregor.” (Transcribed by MMA Fighting)
Earlier this week, the Sanford MMA mainstay also claimed that anyone who chose to “discredit” McGregor amid his recent losing run and actions outside the sport were simply just “haters” or “casuals“.