UFC lightweight Michael Chandler lost to Justin Gaethje last weekend in New York, but he appears to have caught the eye of Conor McGregor in the process.
Chandler (22-7) suffered a unanimous decision loss to Gaethje at UFC 268 on Saturday, in a three-round fight that is likely the favorite for Fight of the Year 2021. Gaethje dropped Chandler with an uppercut in the second round, but Chandler managed to survive and even continued to advance until the final bell. Both men immediately went to the hospital.
On Monday, Chandler posted an altered photo on Twitter of a face-to-face between himself and McGregor with a caption: 2022. McGregor responded quickly.
– Michael Chandler (@MikeChandlerMMA) November 8, 2021
“I’m sure I’m willing at some point,” McGregor wrote. “Great fight the other night Mike, congratulations!”
Chandler, who resides in Nashville, responded, “Thank you sir. It would be my pleasure. See you soon.”
McGregor (22-6) hasn’t fought since he suffered a broken leg during a first-round loss to Dustin Poirier at UFC 264 in July. The 33-year-old Irishman underwent leg surgery shortly after the injury and is still recovering. It is expected to return to competition in 2022.
McGregor also faces a possible legal problem in Italy. Italian DJ Francesco Facchinetti recently confirmed to ESPN that he filed a criminal complaint against McGregor for an alleged incident last month, in which the DJ claims that McGregor struck him in the face and injured his lip and neck.
Whenever McGregor returns to the Octagon, there are many possibilities for his next opponent. He expressed interest in a fourth fight against Porier, who is 2-1 against him in his trilogy. His two-time rival Nate Diaz has one fight left on his UFC contract and he would also be an attractive option.
Chandler, a former Bellator MMA champion, came close to winning the UFC lightweight championship earlier this year. He fought Charles Oliveira for the vacant title and lost by TKO in the second round, after nearly finishing Oliveira in the first round; He is 1-2 since signing with the UFC in 2020.