Michael Chandler insists a December date for his fight with Conor McGregor ‘is not out of the question’… despite Dana White admitting that he is targeting ‘early next year’ with the Irishman still yet to rejoin the USADA pool
- Michael Chandler is hopeful his fight with Conor McGregor will happen this year
- But Dana White indicated the UFC are looking at an early 2024 date for the clash
- McGregor has not fought in the UFC since breaking his leg against Dustin Poirier
UFC lightweight contender Michael Chandler has revealed that he hopes his fight with Conor McGregor will still take place this year as originally planned.
McGregor has been out of competition since suffering a devastating leg break during his loss to Dustin Poirier in July 2021.
With the former two-weight world champion having returned to training for a comeback fight, Chandler emerged as his would-be opponent, with the pair coaching against each other in 31st season of The Ultimate Fighter.
Though a date for their pay-per-view showdown has yet to materialise, Chandler spoke after Saturday’s UFC 292 event to insist that he’s hopeful the pair will meet in the Octagon before the year’s end.
‘I talked to Hunter Campbell less than 48 hours ago,’ Chandler told ESPN.
Michael Chandler revealed has had positive discussions with the UFC over a 2023 date for his fight with Conor McGregor
Chandler and McGregor have served as opposing coaches on The Ultimate Fighter
‘It’s a constant moving target. I do think December isn’t out of the question. By the end of the year isn’t out of the question.’
A December date has long been the target for McGregor’s return to competition, but scheduling the fight has been complicated by the 35-year-old’s absence from the UFC’s drug testing protocol.
The USADA UFC anti doping policy states that a fighter that has left the drug testing pool: ‘may not resume competing in UFC Bouts until he/she has given UFC written notice of his/her intent to resume competing and has made him/herself available for Testing for a period of six months before returning to competition.’
McGregor has not been tested since the third quarter of 2021, having left the program while he recovered from his injury against Poirier at UFC 264.
However, the same clause also states that the UFC can ‘grant an exemption to the six-month written notice rule in exceptional circumstances’, a stipulation that was reportedly invoked to allow Brock Lesnar’s short-noticed return to the promotion at UFC 200.
But McGregor’s return to action is complicated by his absence from the USADA pool since breaking his leg in 2021
UFC president Dana White recently claimed that a date early next year is looking more likely
Though both Chandler and McGregor have both alluded to a showdown at an as-of-yet unannounced pay-per-view event in December, Dana White suggested earlier this week that a later date is looking increasingly likely.
Asked about the prospective clash on the Crain and & Company podcast, the UFC president insisted plans are underway.
‘We’re working on it. Obviously we’re running this whole season of the Ultimate Fighter, to not do that fight would be ridiculous but we’re working on it.
‘I’m hoping we can do it early next year.’