The UFC’s Ultimate Fighter debuted last week and saw tremendous results in terms of ratings. Not surprising considering the two men who are coaching the show. Former two-division champion Conor McGregor (22-6) and former title challenger “Iron” Michael Chandler (23-8).
As per the norm of the show, the two men are supposed to fight at the end of the season. However, there’s still not an official date and at this time, there’s no movement on the fight at all. Conor McGregor recently said that the fight would be announced during the season.
He also said he would be entering the USADA pool which requires a six-month waiting period before he could compete. All things appeared to be lining up for the two men to headline the UFC’s PPV to close out 2023. However, Dana White seemed to throw a little water on that fire over the weekend.
Worth noting that White didn’t seem all too concerned on whether or not McGregor would return at all, but he definitely seemed cautious to act like the fight would happen by the end of the year.
When asked about whether the fight would fall through or not, White said, “That’s the business we’re in. Anything is possible in this business. Anything is possible, you don’t know. You guys don’t know this much of what goes on behind the scenes and how hard it is to put all these fights together.”
White then talked about how much money McGregor has and said that it’s hard to reel these guys back in and get them motivated at times. While he didn’t waver or act pessimistic that the fight wouldn’t happen, it doesn’t give the UFC fans a ton of confidence.
Will the UFC book McGregor – Chandler?
So, the question becomes, will the UFC actually make this fight happen? In my heart and from talking to a few folks, I really do believe that the fight will happen. However, everyone is on McGregor’s time right now. The fight completely hinges on him because we know that Michael Chandler is ready to go whenever.
The ideal situation for the promotion would be to end the year with McGregor on top of the ticket. However, January could become a real possibility as we go through June. McGregor has fought on the January PPV in two of his last three fights so he’s comfortable and familiar with that time slot.
Until we start to see some hedges regarding booking Michael Chandler against someone else, I don’t think confidence should be shaken. However, until the fight is finalized and announced by the UFC, I don’t think anyone should be overly optimistic at the same time.