‘If Conor Can’t Make It,’ McCarthy Offers Replacement Opponent For UFC 303’s Michael Chandler

John McCarthy says Chandler should go up against another former UFC Champion, should McGregor withdraw from UFC 303.

Conor Chandler 303
(via @thenotoriousmma, @cuts - Instagram)

Who should Michael Chandler fight, if not Conor McGregor at UFC 303? ‘Big’ John McCarthy knows just the guy.

The UFC 303 main event is currently in limbo with all signs pointing to a potential injury from McGregor during his training camp for the June 29th headliner. While this is all but confirmed by the promotion itself, reports have gone out that the UFC is actively searching for a replacement fight for Chandler or perhaps a new matchup between two different fighters altogether.

A little more than a week out from International Fight Week, there’s not a whole lot of options for the main event slot at UFC 303, leaving the masses to wonder what kind of audible the UFC can pull at this point. 

‘Big’ John Thinks Chandler Stays On UFC 303

“The Notorious” or not, longtime referee and Bellator commentator McCarthy explains why he thinks Chandler will most likely still fight at UFC 303.

“If you look at the tickets, you look at the posters, any of it, card’s subject to change,” McCarthy said on ‘Weighing In‘. “But, the one thing that you cannot have is the main event with both people being out of it. You have both people out of it. Now that card has changed completely to the point where people can now say, I want a refund on my tickets. I wanna turn my tickets back in. It doesn’t have either of the fighters that I came here to watch, so they need Michael Chandler to step in there.

“They have over $20,000,000 gate. That’s unbelievable. It’s so impressive to have say that fight brought in that kind of attention and that kind of desire for people to be there. It’s fantastic. It is International Fight Week, and it’s all cool. It’s the way the UFC sets everything up and everything, but they absolutely need Michael Chandler.”

Michael Chandler vs. Eddie Alvarez 3? ‘They Couldn’t Pick A Better Fight’

‘Iron’ Chandler has stood his ground for the last two years, waiting and waiting for his opportunity to come to finally get his hands on McGregor. The patient Chandler could keep that up, but for how long? At 38 years old, the clock is ticking by and less fights will be made available as a result of his inactivity.

Though, at this point, who would be the right opponent to get Chandler out of his own way, that’s not a superstar like McGregor? McCarthy says a trilogy fight with old rival and former UFC Champion Eddie Alvarez might do the trick.

“Michael has sat out forever to get this fight with Conor. They’ve got to entice him in some way with someone that they could say, ‘Hey, we’re bringing you so and so…’ And I saw, it was a text, it was by “The Underground King”. Eddie Alvarez said, ‘Here I come to save the day’ – which I love. I thought it was the greatest thing ever and I go holy s*** if the UFC ends up having to put somebody in for Conor in that position, they couldn’t pick a better fight, a better matchup a better person to go against Michael Chandler than Eddie Alvarez because those two have had [great fights].”

McCarthy Makes His Case For The Trilogy In The UFC

Eddie Alvarez crossed paths with Michael Chandler on two separate occasions in Bellator MMA. In their first fight, Chandler choked out Alvarez in the fourth round of an absolute war in 2011. Two years later in 2013, Alvarez avenged his title loss, defeating Chandler by split decision at Bellator 106.

The fighters left their series at 1-1 with Alvarez packing his bags for the UFC in 2014 and Chandler staying in Bellator until 2020. Alvarez, the former UFC Lightweight Champion, is currently a free agent and wouldn’t mind settling the score with Chandler in the UFC – even if it’s on short notice call-up at UFC 303.


“I refereed the rematch, and it was incredible,” McCarthy said of Chandler’s fights with Alvarez. “Absolutely just back-and-forth blood and guts both guys. You can’t ask for anything more. If Conor can’t make it… Connor doesn’t pull out of fights. Connor doesn’t back out of opponents. He’s gotta have something. If this happens, he’s hurt. I can understand that it’s hurt to the point where he just can’t do it. But you can’t ask for a better replacement fight than if they do get Eddie Alvarez. I’m telling you there’s no one on their roster right now that I would rather see in that matchup with Michael Chandler at the end of June than Eddie Alvarez.

“Nope, I wouldn’t,” McCarthy said, when asked if he’d rather see Max Holloway step in to fight Michael Chandler. “I’d rather see Eddie Alvarez against Michael Chandler in a trilogy fight. Those were two of the best damn fights.. The second fight with Alvarez against Chandler, which evened it out to one win a piece, was absolutely just balls deep. F****** one of the best damn f****** fights you could watch. It was that entertaining. It had that much action, that much back and forth, changing of positions. Chandler was almost choked out, gets his way through things because of the blood. He was able to slip out. It’s like, unbelievable. When I have two guys that I’ve seen go at it twice and put on unbelievable performances there both times? I’m looking, saying the third one’s gotta gotta be there, too. They just match up well and it should be an incredible fight…. It would also be at 170.”

Would you like to see Michael Chandler vs. Eddie Alvarez III at UFC 303?

Watch their first two fights below!

Published on June 13, 2024 at 2:02 pm
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