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  • Cooper Burke

“Return of the Mac”: Conor McGregor Announces Fight With Michael Chandler at 185 Pounds

In a video posted to various social media platforms, the former featherweight and lightweight UFC champion Conor McGregor announced that he is fighting Michael Chandler at 185 pounds, a whole two divisions above his normal fighting weight at lightweight.

This is a matchup that was supposed to take place as the main draw of the Ultimate Fighter reality series, but got delayed many times due to behind-the-scenes issues. More likely than not, it had to do with McGregor’s camp and getting ready for the fight. He would often post photos of himself shirtless, and he looked the biggest he had ever been.

As a result, many in the business claimed that there was no way he would be able to get down to 155 pounds, or even 170 with that much muscle mass. Others claimed that the Irishman was on steroids. While these are just allegations, the timing of the announcement raises questions. With the end of USADA partnering with the UFC, the UFC exercises more control over the anti-doping program. This could put at risk the integrity of the anti-doping program, especially because the USADA rules were keeping McGregor from fighting in 2023. The rules were originally that to reenter the testing pool, a fighter would have to submit two clean samples in a six-month period to return to fighting. McGregor failed to do so, and thus he was not permitted to fight.

The only reason McGregor wanted to wait to submit a clean sample is that he was unable to submit a clean sample. Obviously, it would be a bad look for McGregor to test positive for performance-enhancing drugs, as he is the biggest crossover star for the UFC. McGregor is already 35 years old, and so his window to recapture a title is closing. He must’ fight multiple times a year to return to title-winning form.

ESPN’s Brett Okamoto spoke to Michael Chandler on the phone, where he saw the video for the first time. Chandler laughed, and said “Here we go. Any weight is good with me.”

Chandler also said that he wanted McGregor at his “biggest and best” and that he could get it at 185 pounds. If McGregor and Chandler were to fight at 185 pounds, McGregor would be just the third fighter in UFC history to fight in four different divisions. Diego Lopez and Kenny Florian also started at middleweight, but they descended down to 145 later. McGregor is the only one to move up in weight over time.

Regardless of the weight class, the sport is better to have McGregor back. He brings an energy and charisma to the sport that draws eyes amongst even the most casual fans. The sports world over stops and stares when McGregor makes the walk, and the same is true for his fight in June.

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