Michael Chandler has still not given up hope on fighting Conor McGregor.
Chandler is expected to face the Irishman in 2023 and although McGregor claimed a fight date — — likely to be December — would be announced towards the end of The Ultimate Fighter 31, there is plenty of uncertainty surrounding the contest.
McGregor is still yet to officially enter the USADA drug testing pool whereby he would require two negative drug tests in a six-month period before competing again. UFC president Dana White also seemed highly uncertain about McGregor fighting again.
Additionally, the former two-weight champion is embroiled in another legal battle after a woman accused him of raping her in a bathroom during Game 4 of the NBA Finals.
“I think Conor’s coming back,” Chandler said on Daniel Cormier’s YouTube channel (via MMA Junkie). “I don’t think he wants to stain his legacy by leading us all down this road of, ‘I’m doing the Ultimate Fighter, I’m fighting Michael Chandler – Oh, by the way, never mind. I’m not coming back.'”
With regard to the USADA situation, there is a possibility of McGregor getting an exemption.
But for now, Chandler is worrying about what he can control as he still expects to fight McGregor in the next six months.
“Supposedly there was a countdown with USADA, six months, and all that other stuff. That’s not for me to choose or decide,” Chandler added. “Have there been exemptions before? People are talking about exemptions. Of course, that’s all on the table.
“All I know is I’m controlling the controllables, and either way, I’m gonna keep on moving forward, and I do believe I fight Conor within the next six months, and it’s going to be one of the biggest pay-per-views that we have ever seen, and I’m gonna go out there and knock him out within the first two rounds.”