Michael Chandler reveals ‘frustration’ over Conor McGregor fight delay

Michael Chandler has admitted to being ‘frustrated’ over the delays to his fight with Conor McGregor, nearly a year after the announcement of the bout.

The UFC announced in February that McGregor and Chandler would serve as opposing coaches on this summer’s season of The Ultimate Fighter, with the lightweights due to clash after the show’s finale in August.

However, the fight has still not taken place, with no date set, either. Many fans believe that the bout will be held at UFC 300 in April, although McGregor’s coach John Kavanagh suggested recently that a summer 2024 date is more likely.

“[Have I been] frustrated at times? Absolutely,” said Chandler, 37, on The MMA Hour on Monday (4 December). “Annoyed? Maybe a little bit here and there, because we get that rush; we love fighting, we love competing.

“I do train a lot, so it is hard to train – even me, even being known as the guy who trains a lot and I live this life, it is hard to have your training but not have that carrot dangled in front of you and that light at the end of the tunnel of an actual date.

“But anybody who has seen all of my fights in the UFC thus far, or even the fights before that, I’ve been extremely active over the last 15 years. I’ve fought extremely hard. Some very, very tough fights I’ve had since I came into the UFC, especially [since] I fought everybody inside the top five basically.

“Fights of the year, knockouts of the year, all of those different things. So, anytime I find myself being frustrated, I believe I’m always able to go back to my north star that, ‘Hey, it’s going to work out the way it’s going to, just like me coming to the UFC.’

Chandler recorded one of the greatest KOs in UFC history, against Tony Ferguson in May 2022 (USA TODAY Sports)
Chandler recorded one of the greatest KOs in UFC history, against Tony Ferguson in May 2022 (USA TODAY Sports)

“That door stayed closed until it was time for that door to open. The door opening for this fight with Conor, whenever it’s finally supposed to be, it will be, and I’m just being at peace in the midst of the waiting.”

Before Chandler appeared on The MMA Hour on Monday, the American teased a major announcement, which many fans hoped would be confirmation of his fight with Irishman McGregor. Instead, Chandler announced a partnership with Hiatus Tequila.

“Hey listen, nobody would like the hypothesising to stop more than me, alright?” Chandler said. “And yes, obviously I talked about this big announcement today, and people are like, ‘Okay, finally we’re going to get the Conor and Chandler fight, right?’ So, I know. To anybody out there who [I] ticked off today, I’m sorry, but I just don’t have any information.

“Obviously [UFC 300] would be a dream scenario. That’s when I would like to fight, where I would like to fight, who I would want to fight. Chandler vs. Conor is happening; I don’t have a date or a location or a UFC number for you, but it’s definitely going to happen next year.

“So, we’re going to enjoy the holidays and we’re going to stay in shape, and then we go back into training camp in January and I will train my tail off until that fight happens.”

Addressing Kavanagh’s claim that McGregor vs Chandler could take place in the summer, Chandler added: “Listen, I respect Conor and I respect coach Kavanagh. We’re very cordial, right? And I don’t have to hate Conor to want to go out there and rip his head off in front of millions of people. But these guys are very good at creating their own narrative and throwing little breadcrumbs out there that are just stale as heck and not even a mouse would eat them. Alright?

McGregor suffered a broken leg in his defeat by Dustin Poirier in July 2021 (Getty Images)
McGregor suffered a broken leg in his defeat by Dustin Poirier in July 2021 (Getty Images)

“So, just remember when they say things: Maybe it’s true, maybe it’s not true. Maybe they’re saying things for the reason of just making people like yourself and all of us speculate and also [making] me speculate.

“I’ve heard it. I’ve seen Conor talk about other opponents. I’ve seen Conor talk about different dates. I’ve seen Conor talk, completely dismiss me and act like the fight with me isn’t happening. These are all ways that these guys try to get inside people’s heads. Unluckily for them, your boy’s bulletproof, alright? So, we’re good. We’re staying with the plan.

“We’re right where we need to be. I’ve had a year, a year-plus now to think about and visualise knocking Conor out, watching all of his tapes, seeing the training footage that’s coming out. I see that he’s training, I see that he’s coming back.”

Chandler last fought in November 2022, suffering a submission loss to Dustin Poirier. Meanwhile, 35-year-old McGregor has not fought since his second straight loss to Poirier, in July 2021, when the Irishman suffered a broken leg.

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