Michael Chandler disappointed Conor McGregor fight isn’t at UFC 300 but ‘I knew what I signed up for’

Rarely does a day go by when Michael Chandler isn’t reminded that his dance date against Conor McGregor is still the missing needle in the haystack that is the UFC’s calendar.

“I knew what I signed up for,” Chandler conceded Wednesday on The MMA Hour. “I will say that. And every month that goes by, I’m like, ‘Man, I didn’t know it was going to take this long.’ But then I’m reminded of the conversation I had with Dana [White] and Hunter [Campbell], and they’re like, ‘Hey, this is going to be something different than you’ve ever done before. This is not like booking a regular fight.’ So there’s going to be some highs, there’s going to be some lows, there’s going to be some brick walls you’re going to run into. There’s going to be some days you want to step off the train, but stay on the train.

“So we’re we’re heading towards a collision course. Conor’s road back to the UFC goes through Nashville, Tennessee. He can’t go and fight anybody else. He’s fighting me. It’s Chandler vs. McGregor. Hopefully this summer. That’s my plan. I’m at least planning for that, sometime this summer after UFC 300. And we’ll see when that contract gets booked. Whenever the fight announcement happens, it’s going to be a big one.”

Chandler, 37, has been tentatively linked to a UFC bout against McGregor since coaching against the former two-division champion on The Ultimate Fighter 31 in early 2023. After months of uncertainty, McGregor finally announced the Chandler fight on New Year’s Eve as the headliner for the UFC’s annual International Fight Week pay-per-view on June 29. That news was quickly squashed by UFC CEO Dana White, however, who’s maintained that no fight is on the books for the Irishman. White doubled down on that sentiment after UFC 298, reiterating that he still does not know when — or if — McGregor will fight again.

The bizarre saga has effectively pushed Chandler to the sidelines for an entire year of his career, and while the former three-time Bellator champion has tried to maintain a positive outlook on the situation, there have been plenty of moments of frustration along the way. McGregor vs. Chandler not being the main event of UFC 300 was just the latest example.

“There’s definitely a part of me that [is disappointed],” Chandler said of UFC 300.

“It’s a momentous card, man. It’s the UFC putting on 300 shows, being around now for 30 years. It would’ve been really cool. But also, every single opportunity to go fight in the UFC octagon, under the UFC banner, with the UFC push behind you, they’re all huge. Conor knows that, I know that. [We’ll fight] later this year or fall, summer, whatever it might be, but we just need everybody to stay patient. I understand. I understand the sentiment and I understand the haste at which people want this fight to be booked. I understand it.

“Every time I go to a fight, I’m reminded why people love to watch me fight, because I do bring a different speed, a different cadence, a different ferocity than most fighters are willing to go to. And then obviously Conor being the biggest combat star on the planet, people want to see this fight. But patience is a virtue, man, and I’ve learned that over the last year, and I’m going to keep on keeping on.”

Chandler has done admirably by keeping his name out there over the past year despite the uncertainty surrounding his future. His surprise appearance on WWE Raw was just another example. Chandler went viral after making an impromptu cameo on WWE’s flagship program, snatching the microphone, then cutting a furious promo calling out McGregor.

Chandler admitted that there have been moments in which he wondered whether he was wasting his time and whether he’d be best served setting a deadline for a decision to be made, but he’s confident now that the most challenging part of the wait is behind him.

“I think every day it’s a moving target,” Chandler said. “Like I said, if I was having any kind of inclination or information coming to my doorstep, on my phone, behind the scenes, that made it sound like this fight was not happening, yeah, we might make a pivot. But as of right now, it’s happening. And like I said, we don’t have a date, but we sure are getting dang close.

“Obviously, that date this summer makes a lot of sense,” he added. “It’s got to be a big marquee card, so people can read between the lines and know what the big marquee cards are. I have not gotten confirmation that it is June 29 or any other card, by the way. I know it’s obviously not UFC 300 at this point, so I’m hoping for this summer, and I will train as such. I’m already in shape. The whole Honda Center saw that on Monday night, so I’m ready to get into a training camp and I can’t wait to dispatch this man.”

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