Trying to predict Conor McGregor’s future has always been tough, but it seems like it’s even harder now as the UFC prepares for a busy 2022.
Coming off a brutal leg injury that led to a disappointing end to his trilogy with Dustin Poirier, McGregor seems to be in an odd spot in one of the UFC’s toughest divisions.
The UFC’s lightweight rankings continued to evolve after McGregor’s loss at UFC 264 in July, and the Irishman’s injury made it impossible for the “Notorious” one to stay involved in the conversation.
But, in typical McGregor fashion, his popularity as a potential money-making opponent for the division’s biggest names remained at an all-time high.
One fighter in particular that caught McGregor’s eye called out the former two-division champion in the aftermath of one of the UFC’s greatest lightweight bouts of all time.
After coming up short in a war with Justin Gaethje to kick off UFC 268’s main card, Michael Chandler took to social media with an apparent message for McGregor.
“2022,” Chandler wrote, accompanied by a photoshopped image of he and McGregor facing off.
The message was received loud and clear on McGregor’s end, and the 155-pounder seemingly welcomed the challenge.
“I’m down at some stage for sure,” McGregor wrote. “Great fight the other night Mike, congrats!”
“Thank you sir,” Chandler replied. “It would be my pleasure. See you soon.”
While McGregor has kept his options open on social media before, a potential fight with Chandler in 2022 makes a lot of sense.
As of this writing in the aftermath of UFC 268, McGregor is the No. 9-ranked lightweight in the UFC. Chandler will fall out of the division’s top five after losing to the No. 2-ranked Gaethje, and finds himself on a two-fight losing streak just three fights into his UFC career.
Chandler certainly fits the mold for an ideal opponent for McGregor, with the ability to talk the talk on the microphone and the ability to walk the walk with his striking and wrestling.
He earned Fight of the Night honors alongside Gaethje after their instant classic inside Madison Square Garden, cashing a cool $50,000 in the process.
“We made some questionable decisions in the last one, but we had a blast!” Chandler wrote. “[I]ll-advised yet entertaining is my strong suit.”
“Ill-advised yet entertaining” are four words that could perfectly describe McGregor over the course of his rise in the UFC.
He consistently catches the attention of fans around the world with his fights and press conferences, though he frequently oversteps with his statements whenever a microphone is in his hands.
It’s a match made in heaven, and the UFC knows both Chandler and McGregor could rise to the occasion to make this a five-round, pay-per-view main event.
McGregor’s last three fights haven’t been for a title, but that hasn’t stopped Dana White from booking him as the final fight of the night on some of the company’s biggest events over the last two years.
Add in the fact that McGregor could make a case for a potential title shot against current champion Charles Oliveira, or potentially Poirier depending on the outcome of the Oliveira-Poirier fight in December, and it may be an offer McGregor can’t refuse.
Meanwhile, Chandler would take center stage in his second pay-per-view main event in just four UFC fights, and could instantly reinsert himself into the lightweight title picture with an impressive win.
Once McGregor is fully cleared to fight following his leg injury, and after Chandler recovers from his battle with Gaethje, this one seems like a no-brainer for the UFC’s 2022 calendar.