McGregor, a former featherweight and lightweight titleholder on MMA’s biggest stage, hasn’t been seen inside the Octagon since July 2021, when his woes in the sport were compounded by not only a second consecutive defeat to Dustin Poirier, but by a gruesome leg break.
In the months since, the Irishman has been recovering following surgery, a healing process that appears to have reached its final stages in recent times. As well as frequent clips from McGregor’s return to training proving as much, the “Notorious” star has also been consistently teasing a monumental comeback on social media.
And while there still appears to be some hurdles in the way of McGregor’s return to the cage — namely, conflicting views on a return to the USADA testing pool and the period of time he’s required to be in it before making the walk again — that hasn’t stopped a number of prominent names from staking their claim as the Dublin native’s next opponent.
For former fighter-turned-analyst Cormier, however, there’s one clear choice.
Cormier Expects McGregor To Grant Top LW’s Wish
During a recent episode of ESPN MMA’s DC & RC show, Cormier looked ahead to McGregor’s potential 2023 return, assessing the shortlist of possible names whom he could meet in the cage for it.
While the likes of former UFC lightweight champion Charles Oliveira and veteran contender Tony Ferguson have thrown their names into the hat, the most noise has undoubtedly come from the mouth of Michael Chandler.
More than just the callouts, though, “DC” sees the #5-ranked 155lber as the leading choice owing to his fight style and how McGregor will assess a collision with it.
“I think it’s Michael Chandler,” Cormier said. “Honestly… I think that Michael Chandler’s last fight is why he might get the Conor McGregor fight. RC, we saw him try to wrestle Dustin Poirier, and even though he’s a wrestler and in phenomenal shape, he did get tired in that third (round)… When he got tired, he made a mistake, and Dustin submitted him.
“But he also was willing to stand with a guy that hits hard, is predominantly a striker, and tested himself. I think, because he fights in that way, it makes a guy like McGregor go, ‘Wait a minute, I want him. Because I know this guy’s gonna be there to fight, this guy’s gonna be there to hit, and I also know that this guy will not be trying to wrestle me for the entirety of this fight… He’ll stand with me and he doesn’t have the background I have in striking,'” Cormier added.
Despite suffering a loss last time out, falling via submission against a three-time opponent of McGregor’s in Poirier, Chandler’s stock certainly hasn’t fallen. With that in mind, as well as his ongoing calls to face the Irishman and willingness to do so at welterweight, it would appear hard to argue with Cormier’s assessment.
Do you think Michael Chandler is the right opponent for Conor McGregor’s return?
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