Chandler (23-8 MMA, 2-3 UFC) and McGregor (22-6 MMA, 10-4 UFC) will coach “The Ultimate Fighter 31” and are expected to fight after the show airs. It debuts May 30 on ESPN and ESPN+, with the conclusion of the season set for Aug. 15 after weekly episodes airing Tuesdays.
Chandler has earned bonuses in four of his five UFC bouts and already been involved in the 2021 Fight of the Year vs. Justin Gaethje and a 2022 Fight of the Year contender vs. Dustin Poirier – both of which he lost. But against a precise and powerful striker like McGregor, McCarthy believes it’ll be a grave mistake for Chandler to seek a thrilling battle instead of leaning on his decorated wrestling background.
“Michael has that – for whatever reason in his mind, it’s more important to be exciting than it is to win,” McCarthy said on his “Weighing In” podcast. “And in this fight right here, it’s the dumbest idea ever.”
He continued,” If Michael Chandler was smart, he would work on his wrestling. He would just hone it to a fine edge and be able to put pressure and take the blueprint you saw from Khabib and use that blueprint to beat Conor.”
Michael Bisping: Conor McGregor fighting for UFC title 'a given' if he beats Michael Chandler
Opening odds have Conor McGregor vs. Michael Chandler fight as even
'Mystic Mike' Michael Chandler predicts he'll finish Conor McGregor in second round of UFC fight
Chandler did lean on his wrestling in his past outing against Poirier at UFC 281, but an explosive takedown caused him to get reversed and submitted in Round 3.
“He is an explosive fighter, but he lunges in,” McCarthy said. “He takes these big movements, and his feet move to get him inside and then to try to get him outside. He doesn’t stay inside. He wants to come in, do damage, and bounce out. That’s not a good idea in fighting Conor.”