DC calls for Conor McGregor vs. Michael Chandler to be 165-pound ‘super lightweight’ title fight



UFC 300: Figueiredo v Garbrandt
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Daniel Cormier wants to raise the stakes for Conor McGregor vs. Michael Chandler.

After more than a year of false starts, McGregor’s octagon return against Chandler is finally on the books for June 29 at UFC 303. The fight will be McGregor’s first in more than two years — the former two-division UFC champion has not competed since breaking his leg in a July 2021 loss to Dustin Poirier — and Cormier believes such a long-awaited moment warrants the introduction of a long-debated new UFC title.

“Here’s my thought process, right? When it comes down to championship opportunities, I have said this time and time again — a lot of times it comes down to being at the right place, at the right time,” Cormier said Monday on Good Guy / Bad Guy.

“Even going back to me, they had no intent of giving me my first championship opportunity [in 2015]. But then Alexander Gustafsson got hurt, they called me in, I stepped in. I never left the title picture after because I was reliable. They could always call me and say, ‘Hey, do you want to fight this guy for the belt?’ It was also the same way with Dustin Poirier right now, we see it happening [at UFC 302], where, if you’re in the right place at the right time under the right circumstances, sometimes it happens faster.

“I believe that if they’re going to do a 165-pound division, it should have a name attached to the weight class that is so big that it draws people’s attention,” Cormier continued. “Conor McGregor being that name. Michael Chandler, on the other hand, will benefit from being in the right place at the right time, where these guys would then fight for the super lightweight championship of the world, because that’s what I believe it is. Because it’s only 10 pounds heavier than 155, so let’s call it the super lightweight division. Move 170 to 175, move 185 to 195, keep 205, [keep] heavyweight.”

McGregor and Chandler coached opposite one another on The Ultimate Fighter 31 in early 2023. Both fighters have lost three of their past four UFC appearances.

Cormier’s proposal is nothing new. Many UFC athletes have long pushed for the promotion to introduce a 165-pound weight class, arguing that the 15-pound jump between lightweight and welterweight leaves too many fighters stuck in the middle without an ideal division. Proponents of the move have also pointed to the abundance of talent between the 155-pound and 170-pound divisions as reason for the UFC to open up a ninth men’s weight class — and along with it, a ninth belt that could potentially headline pay-per-views.

The biggest hurdle in the debate has always been one name: Dana White. The UFC CEO has long stood in ardent opposition to introducing a 165-pound division.

And in that respect, White has a supporter in Cormier’s co-host Chael Sonnen.

“There is no need for a 165-pound title, for one,” Sonnen said.

“Part two, the commission does not sanction 165-pound fights. Part three, the UFC does not contest a 165-pound division. Part four, these guys [McGregor and Chandler] combined are coming off of more losses than I have had in my entire career.

“So if anybody’s coming back to fight for a mythical belt, it will be yours truly.”

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