Michael Chandler believes he knows why Conor McGregor wants their scrap, tentatively scheduled for this summer, to go down in a weight class neither man has fought in before.
On New Year’s Day, the Irishman ended years of speculation when he announced that his quote-unquote “greatest comeback in combat sports history” is expected to go down on June 29. Presumably, that would line McGregor up to headline UFC 302 in Las Vegas during the promotion’s annual International Fight Week. However, ‘Mystic Mac’ had fight fans scratching their heads when he revealed that the bout would go down at middleweight, a weight class 40 pounds heavier than the one he started his career in.
Speaking with TMZ Sports, McGregor’s proposed opponent, Michael Chandler, offered some insight into why the former two-division titleholder would demand they fight at 185.
“If you look at how the whole thing played out, I like to say Conor wouldn’t want it to be at 155 because he wants everybody to believe that he’s bigger than he actually is,” Chandler said “That’s that aura of Conor. Bigger than he actually is to build this big mystique.
“And it’s tough for him to say 170 because I was the guy that called him out at 170. So, therefore, I’m not the guy who does what I’m told. I’m the guy who got what I wanted. Just like the opening scene of The Ultimate Fighter. He walked in and said, ‘Have I told you what weight it’s going to be?’ 185 and you’ll do what you’re told type of deal began.
“I’m cool with whatever weight. The way I see it, Conor and I are within a couple of pounds of each other so it doesn’t matter if we cut weight all the way down to 155 or we fight at 170 or 185, we’re the same size guys. I don’t need to bulk up to 200-something pounds to get down to 185. It’s just not how I would operate during this training camp so I’m excited about it if it is 185.”
Michael Chandler likes the weight ⚖️ pic.twitter.com/S5aLWX33G2
— MMA Fighting (@MMAFighting) December 31, 2023
Michael Chandler Believes Fighting at 185 Will Benefit Him More Than McGregor
Though McGregor has made a habit of showing off his increased muscle mass over the last couple of years, Chandler believes the bout going down at 185 will benefit him more than it will the Irishman.
“I think I am naturally bigger than him,” Chandler said. “He’s a natural 145-pounder who started making his name fighting cherry-picked 135-pounders and I’ve carried this mass for the last 15 years and fought at lightweight with it whereas he has gained weight. Gained muscle mass. Gotten bigger. We haven’t seen how he is going to fare with that extra muscle mass and that extra size. I don’t think he’ll be able to move like the Conor of old. He won’t be able to have the same reaction time and footwork or be light on his feet at 170, let alone 185.
“I think it benefits me so wherever they want to do it, I’ll do it. I’m ready.”
Watch the full interview below: