UFC Lightweight Champion Islam Makhachev believes that Michael Chandler‘s coaching battle and subsequent fight against Conor McGregor will mark his last hurrah in mixed martial arts.
Since arriving in the Octagon a few years back, Chandler has been entertainment personified. Despite accumulating a negative 2-3 record in the MMA leader, the former three-time Bellator champion’s exploits become a lot more flattering with a closer look.
From a brutal front-kick knockout of Tony Ferguson to a war with Justin Gaethje that was widely branded 2021’s ‘Fight of the Year’ to his post-fight promos, Chandler hasn’t failed to make good on his promise to thrill.
That looks set to continue in 2023, with “Iron” preparing to do battle with the sport’s biggest superstar on the 31st season of The Ultimate Fighter. And following what could be an explosive edition of the show, Chandler and McGregor will share the Octagon for a clash that will mark the Irishman’s first since July 2021.
Since McGregor’s return and comeback matchup were confirmed, discussion has predominately featured predictions. The latest to give their’s is Islam Makhachev, who’s had his fair share of back and forth with Chandler in the past.
Rather than predict the result of the bout, though, Makhachev predicted the conclusion of a career.
Islam Makhachev Sees McGregor Marking The End For Chandler
During a recent interview with ESPN MMA’s Brett Okamoto ahead of his first title defense this weekend at UFC 284, Islam Makhachev gave his assessment of Chandler and McGregor’s expected showdown later this year.
Despite the 36-year-old former Bellator kingpin seemingly still boasting aspirations of reaching the top in the UFC, Makhachev believes that Chandler is likely to hang up his gloves following the lucrative payday a bout with McGregor brings.
He sees that being the case even with a victory, which despite his view on McGregor’s shape and skillset, he doesn’t think is a foregone conclusion owing to Chandler’s penchant for wild firefights inside the Octagon.
“For Chandler, this fight is (the) last fight for him. He’s gonna make money and that’s it. He’s gonna retire. Or, if he loses, maybe UFC kicks him out ’cause of how many times he lose,” Islam Makhachev said. “Conor can beat him because I don’t understand Chandler. He has a background in wrestling but he goes always crazy.”
While he’s struggled to keep himself in title contention since coming inches away from winning the gold against Charles Oliveira in 2021, Chandler isn’t losing to light competition. Aside from “Do Bronx,” his two other defeats have come against a pair of former interim champions in Gaethje and Dustin Poirier.
Having asked to face the best upon his UFC arrival, Chandler has certainly had his wish granted, something that remains the case as he gears up to face the promotion’s first-ever simultaneous two-division champion.