Since going 9-1 on MMA’s biggest stage and holding both the featherweight and lightweight titles, McGregor has experienced a downfall both inside and outside the Octagon. After vacating the titles due to inactivity and venturing to the boxing ring for a money fight with Floyd Mayweather, the Irishman has been unable to recapture his form of old since he returned to the Octagon in 2018.
A submission loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229 was followed by another lengthy period away from action. Last January, the Dublin native returned with a bang, finishing Donald Cerrone at welterweight in just 40 seconds. But when he attempted to face a top opponent again, McGregor fell to two consecutive losses in 2021.
Re-visiting his rivalry with Dustin Poirier this year, McGregor hoped to brush past “The Diamond” on his way to regaining the 155-pound gold. Instead, he was knocked out for the first time at UFC 257, and suffered a gruesome broken leg at UFC 264 six months later.
While his form inside the Octagon has been dipping, McGregor’s actions and conduct outside the sport have been even more concerning.
In a fashion similar to his previous incidents and arrests, the Irishman has appeared unable to contain his aggression in public. In recent months, he was filmed attempting to punch Machine Gun Kelly at the MTV Video Music Awards and accused of attacking and breaking the nose of Italian DJ Francesco Facchinetti in a Rome nightclub.
Chandler Praises McGregor’s “Mental Awareness”
Despite his fall from grace, McGregor is seemingly as eager as ever to make a successful return to the cage in 2022, and even claimed he’ll be fighting for lightweight gold upon his comeback. While many fighters have criticized the former champ’s performances, one of McGregor’s peers has praised his skills and slammed those who think otherwise.
After a defeat to Justin Gaethje at UFC 268, Michael Chandler put his name in the hat to be McGregor’s return opponent next year. During a recent appearance on the Bussin’ With The Boys Podcast, the former Bellator champion spoke about the threat the 33-year-old still poses, and busted a few myths about his wrestling credentials.
“It’s a different approach when you’re fighting a guy like Conor because fighting a guy like Gaethje, who loves to brawl, is much easier than a guy who you’re really afraid to sometimes throw a punch at because of the shot that you don’t see coming as you’re pulling your hand back. So, you’ve definitely gotta be on your Ps and Qs with the striking.
“But then the coolest thing about Conor, too, is everybody always talks about how bad of a wrestler he is, how bad of a grappler he is. Chad Mendes took him down a couple times. He got taken down a couple times in the second (Nate) Diaz fight. He got taken down numerous times in other fights. And he has always kept his composure.” (h/t Sportskeeda)
Chandler also lauded his fellow ranked lightweight’s awareness and ability to handle immense pressure every time he fights. According to the #5-ranked contender, anyone who doubts or discredits McGregor because of his recent losing streak is simply a “casual” or a “hater.”
“His mental awareness capacity and stability inside of the octagon, inside the confines of competition, especially with how heightened the stakes and the senses are inside of his fights, while everybody in the entire world is watching, it’s something to behold, man. He’s a different level of competitor. And anybody who discredits him because he’s lost fights is just either a casual or a Conor hater, to be honest with you.”
Do you agree with Michael Chandler’s take on Conor McGregor?