May 25, 2024

‘He will never go back’… UFC double champion makes shock prediction for Conor McGregor vs Michael Chandler

Michael Chandler has the chance to add one of the biggest names in combat sport history to his legacy when he returns to the octagon this summer.

The former Bellator world champion has sat out for the last two years as he awaited his date with former two-division title holder Conor McGregor. The pair have now set their date as June 29, with UFC 303 the event that sees the pair take over International Fight Week in Las Vegas.

Many feel that Chandler must avoid his recent tactic of engaging heavily in the striking, and go back to his base of high-level wrestling in order to face McGregor. But he is keen on landing a knockout after branding himself the world’s most exciting lightweight.

UFC legend Daniel Cormier’s surprise prediction for Conor McGregor vs Michael Chandler

McGregor is joined in the rarified air of being a simultaneous ‘champ champ’ by just three fighters. One of those is former heavyweight and light-heavyweight Daniel Cormier, who is now a top analyst on UFC broadcasts and ESPN.

During this week’s episode of his show Good Guy/Bad Guy with Chael Sonnen, Cormier explained that he feels Chandler may not use his grappling in the McGregor fight. As an Olympic wrestler, the American knows the exhaustion that can come from wrestling, and fears Chandler won’t utilise the skillset.

When Sonnen explained how Chandler’s most obvious path to victory was closing distance and getting to McGregor’s legs, Cormier replied: “He won’t do it.” Sonnen then shook his head and concurred with the assessment.

“He will not do it,” Cormier continued. “And you know why he’s not going to do it? For years we’ve been saying ‘Michael Chandler needs to use his wrestling’, and then he did it against Dustin Poirier and he got tired.

“And then Dustin submitted him. And because of that, he will never go back to that well. He knows that fighting in the stand up fight, you get less fatigued.”

Daniel Cormier details why Michael Chandler won’t wrestle against Conor McGregor

Cormier also noted that takedowns may be harder than Chandler expects, despite McGregor’s previous poor showings on the ground. The Irishman was submitted by Khabib Nurmagomedov, Nate Diaz and even Joseph Duffy in his earlier career, but has also shown decent wrestling defence at times.

“While you do run the risk of getting knocked out, you’re not going to feel that fatigue,” Cormier continued. “Chael, you and I both know that when it goes sideways and the takedowns are harder than you expect them to be and it’s harder to keep the guy down.

(L-R) Conor McGregor and Michael Chandler shake hands during the filming of The Ultimate Fighter at UFC APEX on March 13, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

“Then you don’t get to take that breath once you score the takedown. It’s hard. You start to question ‘why did I take this path?’ Michael Chandler did that against Dustin, controlled him bad in the first round and was winning the fight.

“Dustin ended up submitting him, so he won’t wrestle and I think, honestly, that’s why he’s fighting Conor McGregor. Because Conor McGregor is going to get a guy who is going to stand with him which gives him an opportunity to try and get the knockout.”

Conor McGregor vs Michael Chandler poster leaves fans disappointed

While the fight itself is sure to be one of the most hyped in UFC history, fans have expressed their disappointment at the official marketing for the event. The promotion this week officially dropped the poster, which simply shows McGregor and Chandler’s half-faces on a blank backdrop under gold.

Social media users immediately took to comments sections to give their takes, with one writing: “This poster looks like its been on the glass in a off license shop for like four years, and sun burned all the colours!”

Others were a little more blunt, as one commenter simply stated: “This poster sucks bro. They are falling off so bad.” Another asked “What is this poster bro?”

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