By Joey Bachich
After 19 months, 84 weeks, 586 days, a three hour leg surgery, and 20 UFC pay-per-views, Conor McGregor is back in the octagon and will face off against Michael Chandler in a lightweight bout.
McGregor and Chandler will be in the spotlight before the unscheduled event, serving as coaches in UFC hit series “The Ultimate Fighter.” Both men will have a team of up and coming fighters that are all contending to become the winner of the series and earn a UFC contract.
McGregor is 22-6 with his last fight ending in a loss to Dustin Poirier by TKO after he shattered his leg during the first round. He has been rehabilitating that leg for a year and a half and should be 100% healthy going into the fight. McGregor’s style has been a mix of a more kickboxing karate method where he is light on his feet with hands low and has dynamite hands.
In his last few fights, he has been in a more boxing stance with his hands high and he tends to lean pretty heavy on his front foot, causing him to have a hard time getting his kicks involved in the fight. He has been on “The Ultimate Fighter” before, coaching three of the top four finishers of that season, when he coached against UFC legend Uriah Faber.
Chandler is coming into this fight relatively unknown to the casual sports fan, but UFC fans alike know that Chandler is a walking highlight tape. He has a record of 23-8 and is 2-3 in the UFC. Chandler has fought the absolute toughest guys in the welterweight class and was close to beating Charles Olivera for the UFC Lightweight Championship before getting submitted. In his most recent fight he had a narrow loss to Dustin Poirier where he had a chance to finish Poirier multiple times in the first two rounds before again being submitted.
Chandler’s style is high risk high reward and he will oftentimes take a big shot to give a big shot. His style may be exciting for fans to watch since he does not let the other fighter rest at any moment and also his wrestling defense is really sharp and does not get taken down with ease. Chandler has been asking for this McGregor fight for a couple of months now and now he is getting wish.
The UFC has not placed a date for the fight and President Dana White has been slow to pick a venue for this absolute blockbuster of a fight that could possibly have over two million PPV purchases with this being the big McGregor return fight.
Both men are looking to get back into the championship mix with a statement win on one of the biggest stages in the UFC. A loss for Chandler would relegate him to more fun fights with legends, up and comers, but nothing close to getting back to the belt. For McGregor a loss would pretty much end his fighting career since he will not come back if he is fighting mid-carders. McGregor will most likely only take fights that will get him closer to the next belt. The winner of this fight will probably need another win to get a title shot. Most likely the next fight is against future hall of famer Charles Olivera or the newest member of the top five Benil Dariush.
“The Ultimate Fighter” will be returning on May 30 and run until Aug. 15.