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McGregor v Chandler: UFC 303 fight will ‘break’ Irishman, says opponent

UFC fighter and MMA star Conor McGregor

Michael Chandler has said Conor McGregor will be “outclassed” when the pair meet at UFC 303 and “hasn’t earned” his fight against the former Bellator MMA champion.

Two-weight champion McGregor will have been out of the Octagon for almost three years when he faces Chandler in Las Vegas on June 29, returning after successive defeats to Dustin Poirier in 2021, breaking a leg in the second of those losses.

“It’s the biggest fight in the last decade, I believe,” Chandler told the Shawn Ryan Show. “It’s about to be absolutely masterful. You can have a ton of respect and even admiration for somebody but I don’t see any universe where I’m not able to put my hands on him and have him feel my spirit and know that I’m the toughest man he has ever fought.

“He’s going to immediately know he’s outmatched. We will outclass him in every aspect. I believe I’m the better man by a long shot, and it’s to-the-moon after that.”

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McGregor remains the most marketable and best-known fighter in MMA, although the 35-year-old has lost three of his last four bouts.

The Irishman and Chandler have long been on a collision course because of their positions as rival coaches on the UFC’s Ultimate Fighter reality TV series.

Chandler is two years McGregor’s senior and has a mixed record since joining the UFC, losing three of his four bouts since knocking out Dan Hooker on his promotion debut in 2021.

The fighter known as ‘Iron’ was stopped by Charles Oliveira when he challenged for the lightweight crown which McGregor once held and lost a thriller by decision against Justin Gaethje.

He returned to knock out Tony Ferguson in impressive style at UFC 274 and has not fought since suffering a submission loss to Poirier at UFC 281 in November 2022.

“This is so much bigger than mixed martial arts and the UFC,” said Chandler, estimating that he had visualised how his fighter with McGregor will end around 2,000 times.

“One man has earned it and one man knows he hasn’t. One man will talk a good game and get the people behind him but… he knows he hasn’t earned it.

“I was destined for this. I will absolutely break this man. The whole world is going to see it and it’s going to be the best moment of my professional life.”

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