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Chandler wants to be McGregor’s comeback opponent in 2023

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ONE of UFC’s most exciting fighters is campaigning to be Conor McGregor’s comeback opponent in 2023.

  “I do think that’s the fight to make,” lightweight stud, Michael Chandler recently told ESPN.

Chandler lost a wildly competitive, back-and-forth war against Dustin Poirier at UFC 281 earlier this month, in an MMA match that will likely win Fight of the Year honours.

  Chandler fish-hooked Poirier and spat blood all over his opponent’s face but lost by submission in the third round when he tapped to Poirier’s rear-naked choke.

  Despite the flagrant fouling, Chandler’s battle with Poirier earned him a performance-related bonus from UFC, boss Dana White — the fourth time he’s won a bonus for his unique brand of violence since leaving Bellator for MMA’s market-leading promotion.

  Previously, he finished Dan Hooker on his UFC debut in 2021, lost a UFC lightweight title fight to Charles Oliveira in his second bout, and was out-pointed by Justin Gaethje that same year.

  In 2022 he rebounded with a knockout win over Tony Ferguson when he rearranged the veteran MMA fighter’s face with a front kick, before dropping the submission loss to Poirier.

  For his next challenge, Chandler has called out McGregor — who could return to MMA for a comeback fight at some point in 2023, likely to be around International Fight Week in July at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

  “Who in the heck else do you want to be standing on the other side of the Octagon” from 34-year-old McGregor “than me, right now, at this juncture?” said Chandler, 36.

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  “We’re the same size, we’re the same weight,” Chandler said, before adding that he’s one of the most thrilling fighters on the UFC’s entire roster.

  “The UFC knows it, I think Conor knows it, Conor’s team knows it, [and] the whole world of MMA knows it.”

  He added: “Who’s a bigger draw or a bigger fight than me and Conor right now?”

  He said people might say he’s “chasing the payday” that comes with sharing a pay-per-view main event against arguably the most famous face in ultimate fighting.

  However, it’s also about chasing the biggest shows possible and delivering for fight fans, Chandler said.

  “I want the brightest lights, the biggest platforms. I want to go out there on the verge of a heart attack because the moment is so big. And what is bigger than fighting Conor McGregor?” he said.

  “I’ve got to be the most electrifying man in the UFC right now. It’s the biggest fight to make, it’s the most PPV sales that can be made right now, at this current juncture, in the entire world of MMA.

  “I think it’s going to happen International Fight Week of 2023.”

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