UFC 2023: Conor McGregor to fight Michael Chandler as return finally announced by Dana White, next fight, opponent

Conor McGregor’s eagerly anticipated return to the octagon will take place at welterweight.

The Sun reports the former UFC lightweight champion will be welcomed back to the octagon by three-time Bellator 155lbs king Michael Chandler later this year.

UFC boss Dana White announced that McGregor and Michael Chandler will coach against each other on the forthcoming season of “The Ultimate Fighter” — and that after that they will have a fight of their own.

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White did not reveal a date or location for the fight, but said that details will be announced “soon.”

It’s expected the pair’s clash will take place at 170 pounds.

The weight class for the fight is hardly surprising given McGregor’s dramatic body transformation during his hiatus from the octagon.

The UFC’s poster boy has piled on several slabs of lean muscle during his 18 months away from the cage.

The Irishman recently joked that he now possess the frame to compete at middleweight.

McGregor, 34, hasn’t set foot inside the cage since breaking his leg in his trilogy fight with Dustin Poirier in July 2021.

The UFC’s first simultaneous two-weight world champion was hoping to return to the cage early this year.

But he has yet to re-enter the United States Anti-Doping Agency’s drug testing pool – which he must be in for a minimum of six months unless granted an exemption.

He’s expected to re-enter the pool later this month.

Last November, he said: “I’m clear for testing in February.

“I will complete my two tests per USADA & we are booking a fight.”

Chandler, 36, began campaigning for a big-money fight with McGregor after his spectacular debut on Fight Island in January 2021.

And he recently doubled down on his call out of McGregor, saying: “I am walking around almost 190 right now and I stay lean, because I’m always training.

“I’m not getting fluffy or fat, and I’m always around that 185-190. So 170, for me, would be a dream come true. I don’t like making 155.

“I still think I’m bigger than Conor McGregor at this point, even with his regimen that he’s been on.

“I want the fight. Everybody knows that. The fans want the fight.

“Dana White has gone public saying he wants that fight so the UFC wants the fight. I’ve actually heard from numerous UFC people that that’s the fight that a lot of people are talking about.

“Man, huge fight. Could you imagine the first round? Two dudes trying to finish each other in the first round. Massive.”

This article originally appeared in The Sun and was reproduced with permission.

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