Morning Report: Michael Chandler believes Conor McGregor ‘trying to wait me out’ to get ‘easier fight’

The MMA world is still waiting on the return of both Michael Chandler and Conor McGregor.

The Ultimate Fighter 31 (TUF) already feels like a lifetime ago despite happening earlier this year. That’s just the effect that the coaches not fighting each other will have on a season. Well, along with the long-running series being somewhat of a rinse-and-repeat model of middling prospects or veterans at this point, of course.

In the end, McGregor and Chandler broke even with winners as Team McGregor’s Brad Katona won the bantamweight bracket while Team Chandler’s Kurt Holobaugh got the job done at lightweight in August. Since then, the hold-up for the coach’s collision has been on McGregor’s side thanks to his exclusion from the USADA testing pool. With the partnership between USADA and the UFC officially ending next Monday, there will be nothing to stop McGregor from booking the Chandler fight as soon as possible. However, “Iron” believes the whole process has been a part of the plan for “The Notorious.”

“I think right now he’s trying to wait me out,” Chandler said on Steve-O’s Wild Ride! “I mean, because if you were him, would you want to wait as long as possible for the guy like me, who’s a real fighter, who wants to be in there, who wants to compete so that I say, ‘Screw it, I’m gonna go fight someone else’ and then he can go fight an easier fight: Nate Diaz.”

Ideally, McGregor would have undergone six months of USADA testing to become eligible to compete again as late as the start of TUF 31 in May. Instead, his delay has also kept Chandler sidelined with a third-round rear-naked choke loss to Dustin Poirier in November 2022 as his last fight. As for the mentioned Diaz, the veteran is still enjoying his free agency after departing the UFC in late 2022 for a boxing match against Jake Paul this past summer. Paul defeated Diaz via unanimous decision.

McGregor, 35, coincidentally had his last two fights against Poirier, who defeated him on both occasions via TKO. The latter of which just so happened to lead to the nasty leg break that has kept McGregor on the mend since that night of UFC 264 in July 2021. The Irishman is 1-3 in his last four bouts and hasn’t won since his 40-second welterweight TKO of Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone in January 2020.

“It looks really bad on everyone’s part if Conor comes back and doesn’t fight me,” Chandler said. “Conor can try to come back and act like he runs the show and say, ‘I want to fight this guy, I want to fight that guy,’ which if I was in his position, if I was his manager, I would be trying to do the same thing because fighting me is not the smartest fight.”

Awards. MMA Fighting’s 2023 Fighter of the Year: Sean Strickland

Redemption. MMA Fighting’s 2023 Knockout of the Year: Israel Adesanya vs. Alex Pereira

Denied. Cody Garbrandt not interested in Dominick Cruz rematch: ‘It’s so hard to top that performance

Assessment. Aljamain Sterling disappointed by Sean O’Malley PPV sales: ‘These are the numbers that this guy was trying to say he’s this big PPV star?’

Holidays.The Bully who stole gold’: MMA community celebrates Christmas and the holidays

Upset. Conor McGregor erupts over UFC inactivity: ‘My patience is wearing thin

Ending. Korean Zombie on decision to retire from MMA: ‘I felt that I don’t have that chin anymore

Storytime. Willy Wonka (and Conor McGregor and Dana White and Jon Jones, and a few others) and the Chocolate Factory

Partnerships. RIZIN’s Nobuyuki Sakakibara discusses future of co-promotions after Bellator sale to PFL, doesn’t see ONE as threat in Japan

Bored. Alan Jouban laments Islam Makhachev, Leon Edwards calling for champ vs. champ fights: ‘I wish that talk would go away

Aftermath. Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson thinks he may have injured foot in UFC 296 loss to Shavkat Rakhmonov

UFC 297 Trailer.

Top UFC Finishes of 2023.

2023 UFC Honors KO Nominees.

UFC’s 2023 Year In Review – Part 1.

Bisping’s Greatest Year.

Weidman: The Return.

RIZIN Confessions 139.

Top 10 PFL KOs of 2023.

From the Archives.

Invicta’s Best KOs.

Champ Camp Finale.


No time for love!


Lost a touch there, mate.

One final fight week.

Spammed it.

Desperation activated.


Rivalry continued.

Always playing jiu-jitsu.

Solid view.

Double dog?

Into the shop.


A kick-off.

A Stamp Christmas.


Selfie time.

Clouds over the beach.



Let’s talk 10-7s.

Joshua Van (9-1) vs. Felipe Bunes (13-6); UFC Vegas 84, Jan. 13

AJ Dobson (7-2) vs. Tresean Gore (4-2); UFC 298, Feb. 17

Yazmin Jauregui (10-1) vs. Sam Hughes (8-5); UFC Mexico, Feb. 24

Jesús Santos Aguilar (9-2) vs. Mateus Mendonca (10-2); UFC Mexico, Feb. 24

Stephanie Luciano (5-1-1) vs. Shauna Bannon (5-1); UFC Vegas 88, March 23

Andre Petroski (10-2) vs. Jacob Malkoun (7-3); UFC Atlantic City, March 30

Hope everyone had a great and happy holiday season. Now we head towards the New Year celebrations. Share your plans and goals for 2024 in the comments below!

Last Week’s Results:

Friday: 61% of 413 total votes answered “Yes” when asked, “Will Belal Muhammad get the next UFC welterweight title shot?

Thursday: 57% of 437 total votes answered “Yes” when asked, “Will Tony Ferguson ever fight in the UFC again?

Wednesday: 30% of 714 total votes answered “Shavkat Rakhmonov” when asked, “Who should be next for Colby Covington?

Tuesday: 57% of 675 total votes answered “About the same” when asked, “Are you more or less hyped for Sean Strickland vs. Dricus Du Plessis after this past weekend?

Monday: 43% of 453 total votes answered “Neither” when asked, “Who came out better after this past weekend?

Today’s exit poll:


Which fight would you rather see at this point?

  • 65%

    Conor McGregor vs. Michael Chandler

    (234 votes)

  • 34%

    Conor McGregor vs. Nate Diaz 3

    (125 votes)

359 votes total

Vote Now

If you find something you’d like to see in the Morning Report, hit up @DrakeRiggs_ on Twitter and let him know about it. Also, follow MMAFighting on Instagram and like us on Facebook.

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