Even before Michael Chandler entered the UFC octagon, he was already a star on the MMA scene. Now, he finds himself with his most notable opportunity to date within sight, a coaching position on The Ultimate Fighter Season 31, and a 2023 fight lined up with Conor McGregor.
The news of this opportunity broke on February 4th via an announcement from Dana White. Despite Chandler’s short tenure with the UFC, he is a veteran of the game, and this chance to solidify himself in the organization’s history could not be more deserved.
In an interview yesterday with Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour, Chandler had this to say about the upcoming bout with McGregor:
“If you look at the numbers, I think 2 million [buys], it’s not just a possibility, I think it’s very achievable and very attainable,”
Starting his career on the regional scene in Missouri, Chandler then moved into business with Strikeforce, where he earned two wins via stoppage before beginning his time with Bellator. He earned 18 victories with the company between 2010 and 2020, became a champion three times over, and achieved notable finishes in his fights with Patricky Pitbull, Eddie Alvarez, and Benson Henderson.
Five years ago today, Michael Chandler flatlined Patricky Pitbull to win the vacant Bellator Lightweight title. pic.twitter.com/3u3qxSGt72
— Alex Behunin (@AlexBehunin) June 24, 2021
While Chandler only has two wins in his 5 fights with the UFC, the accolades are already stacking up. He received the UFC 257 performance of the night bonus for his first round knockout over Dan Hooker in his debut with the organization, as well as the UFC 268 fight of the night bonus in the extremely hard fought contest that he lost to Justin Gaethje. The bout with Gaethje would also go on to win the fight of the year award in 2021 due to the exciting nature of their brawl.
Additionally, Chandler was nominated for the fan choice knockout of the year award in 2022, for the devastating head kick that he landed on Tony Ferguson during their bout at UFC 274.
— UFC (@ufc) December 7, 2022
Being another veteran of MMA, and one of the most exciting fighters to grace the sport, it is quite fitting to have McGregor coaching opposite Chandler on TUF 31. And, even more fitting for them to headline an event in 2023.
On multiple occasions, Chandler has called for a fight with McGregor, and now he is getting exactly what he asked for. But, McGregor still needs to re-enter the USADA drug testing pool for six months before their fight can occur.
Michael Chandler calls out Conor McGregor. 👀🍿
— theScore (@theScore) May 8, 2022