Las Vegas, NV — A couple of things have happened in Michael Chandler’s world since arriving in Las Vegas to coach opposite Conor McGregor on The Ultimate Fighter 31. A couple of other things have not.
For one, Chandler (23-8) has fallen in love with being a coach in the show, even while stating that long term, he doesn’t plan to be a coach when he career wraps up.
“I wanted to come here to beat Conor,” Chandler said while speaking to media outlets including Cageside Press over the weekend. “Turns out I want my guys to win a lot more than I want to beat Conor.”
Chandler has also learned that, despite the respect between them, he and McGregor don’t particularly like one another — at least not as much as expected following their online interactions over the years.
“It’s always fun and cordial until it isn’t. It’s always copacetic until we hit the boiling point. Conor and I are natural born competitors. As I said, I came here to prove that I’m better than him in every sense of the word. In every single aspect of competition, not just us fighting later in the year, but in this competition, The Ultimate Fighter,” explained Chandler.
“Conor and I have a lot of mutual respect for each other. Even in his awesome, brash trash talk, behind all of that stuff he’s got a lot of respect for the sport, for the purity of mixed martial arts, the purity of martial arts and all of its competitors,” he continued. “Conor and I have a lot of mutual respect for one other, but ultimately I don’t know if we like each other as much as we thought we were going to. And the good thing is we get to settle it in 4oz gloves under a certain rule set in a contest later this year, and I can’t wait to do it.”
What hasn’t happened is a fight booking. No date, no weight class, no announcement of anything between Chandler and McGregor, who are expected to face off later this year nonetheless. McGregor has also yet to return to the USADA drug testing pool, a requirement for active UFC fighters. He pulled out for reasons unknown over a year ago, while rehabbing his broken leg — though as USADA told Cageside Press previously, the UFC alone can choose to waive the testing window.
“No info yet. I’m looking for info. But at this point I don’t think it’s going to be at 155. Conor has expressed maybe 170. I would love it at 170, I’ll fight him at 185, I’ll fight him at whatever weight class he wants to fight at,” exclaimed Chandler. “I could care less, I just want to fight the man.”
Based on the airing of The Ultimate Fighter 31, which kicks off in late May, a fall date makes sense to Chandler. “It would make a lot of sense from the airing of the show ending in August for us to fight in September, October, sometime later this fall. I haven’t heard an actual date, but I’m planning to be ready by August, September, October, whenever.”
One thing Chandler does want, meanwhile, is a bigger venue. He believes he and McGregor make too massive a fight for the confines of your average arena.
“I think this fight is too big to do T-Mobile Arena, I think we sell out Allegiant Stadium or Dallas Cowboys Stadium,” Chandler stated.
Watch the full media appearance by Michael Chandler at UFC 285 above.