Michael Chandler predicts second-round knockout of Conor McGregor: ‘That’s my Mystic Mike take’



UFC 274: Chandler v Ferguson
Michael Chandler | Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Michael Chandler has called for a fight against Conor McGregor since the day he signed with the UFC and now he’ll get his wish.

The former Bellator lightweight champion will face off with McGregor while coaching The Ultimate Fighter 31. Then they’ll clash in what will likely be one of the biggest fights in 2023, though an exact date and location are still to be determined. While there’s still a lot of time to pass before they get in the octagon together, Chandler already has a pretty good idea of what to expect from McGregor.

“Conor and I both start extremely fast,” Chandler told ESPN. “That cage door closes, Bruce Buffer announces us, that bell dings and we both try to meet in the center of the octagon trying to make the other guy take a backwards step first.

“Conor more in a larger, wider, take-up-more-space stance, to kind of project that domineering spirit of himself. Me more like a missile coming at you, making you feel my presence right away, I want to get my hands on you.”

While he commends McGregor’s defense – the Irish superstar will slip punches and then deliver a blistering counter strike of his own – Chandler is fully confident he’ll eventually land on target, and it only takes one shot to end the fight.

“If he lands one on the button, it’s going to be a rough night for me. If I land one on the button, it’s going to be a rough night for him, but which one of us can do it?” Chandler said.

“I’m going to get in his face, make him take a backwards step right away. He’s going to feel my presence from the very beginning of the fight and then from there wherever the fight takes us. If I want to pick him up and put him down, I can pick him up and put him down and put a beating on him and get a submission that way. I believe I finish Conor in the second round. That’s my ‘Mystic Mike’ take on this, later on this year whenever it is.”

On paper, Chandler appears to have a major advantage with his wrestling and grappling, but ideally that’s not the path to victory he would prefer. That’s another reason why he expects to trade bombs with McGregor until one of them falls over.

“I always visualize a big overhand right or a left hook,” Chandler said. “That’s the shot that I really want to land every single time, and that’s the shot I’ve seen put guys down so many times in my career, put guys down in training, put guys down a million times in my mind.

“I believe I wear him down a little bit and land a big shot in the second round and take him out.”

Before he’ll get to throw a single punch against McGregor in the cage, Chandler first has to deal with him for nearly two months as they coach on The Ultimate Fighter.

That gives McGregor plenty of time to potentially chip away at Chandler through mental warfare, a massive weapon for “The Notorious” from the first day he signed with the UFC in 2013.

As confident as he seems in the results of their fight, Chandler won’t even attempt to detail what he anticipates when it comes to McGregor’s behavior because he honestly has no idea what to expect.

“Can’t tell you what’s going to happen, what Conor’s going to show up,” Chandler said. “We’ve seen a couple different versions of Conor as well and I think Conor somewhat tailors himself, his personality and his ability and willingness to engage in those verbal altercations based on his opponent.

“I could bring the worst out of him that we’ve ever seen or I could bring the more buttoned-up, businessman Conor. We don’t know.”

McGregor has taken a friendlier approach in some of his more recent fights, particularly with his matchup against Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone and then Dustin Poirier for their rematch at UFC 257.

After losing to Poirier by knockout, McGregor transformed into a totally different person ahead of the trilogy at UFC 264. He became rather personal in his attacks, which included several ugly messages aimed at Poirier’s wife.

For his part, Chandler says there are absolutely comments that he would consider to be out of bounds, but he doesn’t know if McGregor will go that far with him or not.

“There is a line that you don’t cross absolutely,” Chandler said. “When a guy has a wife, he’s got kids, family, there’s a line that you don’t cross, obviously. It’s hard for me to believe Conor’s going to cross that with me then again me even saying that in an interview probably encourages him, entices him to possibly. We’ll see.”

If McGregor decides to go that route, Chandler admits that might ignite a fight before they actually meet in the cage ever or perhaps he’ll just weather the storm and say nothing in return. One thing is for certain, Chandler promises that he’s ready for whatever McGregor throws at him.

“I fear no man – I don’t fear Conor McGregor,” Chandler said. “I don’t fear the verbal altercations. I don’t fear the fact that he’s so interesting to so many people because he interested and does his homework.

“He knows a lot about me for no other reason because he wants to use it against me. I’m just excited about it.”

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