Chandler does not want to exchange blows with Conor: "He has a bigger gun than me"

Chandler is quite confident about the match against Conor, and we will see if the confidence is justified

by Sededin Dedovic
Chandler does not want to exchange blows with Conor: "He has a bigger gun than me"
© Carmen Mandato / Getty Images

The buzz in the MMA world is undeniable – Conor McGregor is finally back! After a long hiatus filled with controversy, "The Notorious" will once again grace the octagon. This time, his opponent will be the brash and ruthless Michael Chandler, in the highly anticipated fight scheduled for UFC 303 in Las Vegas.

For fans yearning for a glimpse of McGregor's peak form, this fight is a double-edged sword. While the excitement is boiling, the match has generated a lot of interest around the world. McGregor's last official fight was in 2021, a loss to Dustin Poirier.

The years between them were marked by injuries and legal problems. Will McGregor step into the Octagon a shadow of his former self or will he reignite the spark that propelled him to superstardom?

Conor McGregor prepares for his welterweight bout against Donald Cerrone during UFC246 at T-Mobile Arena on January 18, 2020 in © Steve Marcus / Getty Images

On the other hand, Michael Chandler is full of confidence.

He has repeatedly called for this fight, seeing it as the perfect opportunity to cement his legacy. Chandler, known for his aggressive wrestling style and knockout power, believes McGregor's inactivity has significantly eroded his advantage.

"When it comes to this fight, what I have to work on is to continue to be the best version of myself, maybe stick to tactics more." It must be clear to me that I deserved this and that I am a better fighter, that I am tougher, and that I am the guy who deserves the victory more.

Is it going to be to get in his face, pick him up and knock him down, take the wind out of his sails,'' Chandler said on "The Shawn Ryan Show". "I don't need to go into a firefight with a guy who has a bigger gun than me." His time out of the cage must have messed with his timing, movement and reflexes.

I will get there, finish it and absolutely outclass it,'' he added.

Conor McGregor of Ireland is carried out of the arena on a stretcher after injuring his ankle in the first round of his lightwei© Stacy Revere / Getty Images

The rise of the super lightweight division?

Adding another layer of intrigue is the potential birth of a new weight class in the UFC.

Rumors of a "super lightweight" division, which sits between lightweight and welterweight at 165 lbs (75 kg), have been swirling for some time. While the organization has yet to make an official announcement, UFC commentator Daniel Cormier recently sparked speculation during his "Good Guy/Bad Guy" podcast.

Cormier suggested that a McGregor-Chandler fight for the inaugural super lightweight title would be the perfect way to introduce the new division. McGregor's stardom would undoubtedly generate significant interest, while Chandler's presence ensures a competitive matchup at a high level.

"I believe that if they intend to introduce a super lightweight category, I think they need to attach a name to it that will attract people's attention. Conor McGregor is that name. On the other hand, Michael Chandler will profit because he was in the right place at the right time.

Then everyone else could continue to fight for that title,'' said Cormier, and then continued: "Initially, the UFC didn't even want me to fight for the title. Gustafsson got injured, they called me and I accepted. I never got into the title story because I was relevant.

If you are in the right place at the right time, everything happens faster.' '

In this handout image provided by the UFC, Michael Chandler poses on the scale during the UFC 257 weigh-in at Etihad Arena on UF© Handout / Getty Images

Match Breakdown: Can Chandler Use McGregor's Rust?

Chandler's confidence to secure a decisive victory stems from his analysis of McGregor's vulnerabilities.

The Irishman's notorious reliance on knockout power could be less effective against a fighter known for his wrestling ability. In addition, McGregor's inactivity could lead to reduced cardio and potentially slower reflexes.

He's been busy filming Road House during his hiatus, but he seems to be in good physical shape. McGregor's trainer John Kavanagh told SevereMMA that he is ready and believes he will beat Chandler. Tickets for Conor McGregor's comeback match are going for $18,500.

In the UFC, he registered 22 wins and six losses, while Chandler has 23 wins and eight losses. By the way, Chandler's last match was also against Poirier, who defeated him at the end of 2022. However, dismissing McGregor's threat would be a grave mistake.

His combat IQ and striking accuracy remain a formidable weapon. If McGregor can successfully sustain the fight and avoid a takedown, his devastating left hand still has the power to end the fight in an instant.