Anthony Smith was shocked to hear that Conor McGregor and Michael Chandler’s highly anticipated showdown this fall will be contested at 155 pounds.
Shortly after UFC president Dana White announced that the two high-octane fighters would square off at the conclusion of The Ultimate Fighter season 31, multiple reports indicated that the fight would take place at welterweight. The change in weight class certainly made sense to fans as McGregor had notoriously bulked up during his time away from the Octagon. However, during an appearance on The Pat McAfee Show, White said “yeah” when asked if the bout would take place at lightweight.
Smith shared his surprise that the fight would be contested at 155 during a recent episode of the Believe You Me podcast, but believes it can be done considering both fighters have at least six months to prepare their bodies for the scrap expected no earlier than September.
“He’s got six months to do it because he’s got six months of clean tests he’s gotta be taking since he’s back in the (USADA) pool,” Smith explained. “I was a little bit shocked to see that Dana came out and said it was at 155.
During their conversation, it was revealed that at this time, Conor McGregor has no USADA tests completed or scheduled for 2023. Smith did confirm that as long as McGregor is back in the USADA pool, that starts the six-month clock whether he has been subjected to a test or not.
“They did say he’s back in the pool though,” said Smith. “I think he just has to be in the pool for six months. I don’t think that six months starts from the time that they… I don’t think it starts with the first test. You enter the pool, then you just have to have six months in the pool.”
In order to be eligible to compete this fall, McGregor will have to remain in the USADA pool for no less than six months and provide at least two clean test samples during that timeframe.
Anthony Smith Says that Conor McGregor vs. Nate Diaz on TUF Was The Original Plan
With ‘The Notorious’ talking up a 2023 return for quite some time, multiple fighters bought a ticket hoping to win the Conor McGregor lottery. We now know that Michael Chandler had the winning numbers, but according to Anthony Smith, the UFC initially wanted Nate Diaz to return for a trilogy bout with the Irish superstar.
“You know what I heard? I don’t know this for a fact, but I heard this the other day and it kind of makes sense because when Chandler was on here, he genuinely didn’t know that he was gonna be coaching. They announced it just a few days later so he had no idea. I heard they were in really close talks with Nate Diaz,” Smith claimed.
“Initially the idea was Conor vs. Nate. I don’t know what all that looked like, but long story short, that fell through. Didn’t work out, but I think that was plan A, they wanting it to be Conor and Nate and the deal didn’t go through.”
Fans are still holding out hope that Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz will complete their trilogy at some point before both fighters walk away from the sport altogether. The pair squared off with one another in back-to-back fights in 2016. Diaz handed McGregor his first loss inside the Octagon, submitting the Irishman in the second round of their UFC 196 matchup. McGregor evened the score six months later with a majority decision at UFC 202.