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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
MMA Junkie Staff

Conor McGregor vs. Michael Chandler ‘Ultimate Fighter’ faceoff: First look

Conor McGregor and Michael Chandler recently wrapped their coaching duties for Season 31 of “The Ultimate Fighter.”

Sunday, former UFC two-division champion McGregor (22-6 MMA, 10-4 UFC) released faceoff photos of him and former Bellator lightweight champ Chandler (23-8 MMA, 2-3 UFC) with UFC president Dana White in the middle. McGregor offered no commentary with the four photos, which he posted on social media. The faceoff likely was part of promotional work for “TUF 31, which filmed in Las Vegas.

A fight hasn’t been put on the books yet, but the “TUF” coaches traditionally fight at the end of the season. “TUF 31” starts its broadcast run on ESPN in late May and wraps in mid-August.

One of the issues with getting a fight date on the books is the UFC stipulation that a fighter be in the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) drug testing pool for at least six months before a fight. McGregor has been inactive since a broken leg in a July 2021 trilogy loss to Dustin Poirier and not in the testing pool.

McGregor this past week said he’s under the impression he needs just two clean tests and then can fight. But USADA responded and said the hope is that he’ll be held to the same standards as everyone else and will have to be in the pool for a half-year, as well as provide clean tests.

McGregor won UFC titles at featherweight and lightweight and also has fought at welterweight. Chandler is a career lightweight, but said he’s open to fighting at welterweight for this one. But that detail, as well as where the fight will take place, has taken a backseat to just what will need to happen for McGregor to be cleared to fight again.

Until then, take a look at the photos from McGregor below.

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