Michael Chandler believes Conor McGregor does not get the credit he deserves when it comes to fighting.
McGregor returns to action for the first time in year when he faces Dustin Poirier in the UFC 257 headliner Saturday night in Yas Island, Abu Dhabi.
Chandler will notably be competing in the co-main event where he will make his UFC debut against Dan Hooker.
And as far as the former Bellator champion is concerned, he believes McGregor is underappreciated as a fighter — especially with everything else that has surrounded his career thus far.
“For the record, I will say I think he is underappreciated for how good he is,” Chandler told media recently when asked if McGregor gets the credit he deserves. “Just because, it all started with the loudmouth, trash talking, brash Irishman that nobody knew who the heck he was. He comes in, starts talking way out of his league so we all thought he’s just talk.
“And then he wins and wins and wins and becomes double champ and the rest is history. But even to this day, now it’s less of the trash talk and less of the voice of Conor McGregor and more of his accolades. The Floyd Mayweather fight that was seen by so many people, the hundreds of millions of dollars that he has in his bank, the whiskey dynasty that he’s building. He has this thing about him that it makes so much sense for him to have so much stuff going on outside the cage that there’s no way he can perform at a championship level, yet I think he does.”
Chandler: McGregor’s Self-Belief Is Crucial
And while Chandler has always been of the belief that McGregor isn’t as good as he thinks he is, he does acknowledge at the same time that the Irishman proved many people wrong with how good he actually was.
“I always said from the very beginning that Conor is not as good as he thinks he is, but he’s better than we thought he was,” Chandler added. “… That’s just a testament to his self-belief but he’s definitely better than all of us thought he was. The media, the fans, the fighters, all of us thought he wasn’t as good and eventually, he was going to be exposed, eventually, he was going to lose.
“And of course, he did. He had his bumps. He’s picked himself up and dusted himself off and come back like a champion and here he is again, headlining another pay-per-view once again, of course. And I’m excited to be on that co-main event.”
That said, he still believes he’s a bad matchup for the former two-weight champion.