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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Harry Davies

Former UFC star doubts Conor McGregor will return despite fight announcement

Former UFC fighter Ben Askren is sceptical Conor McGregor will step foot in the octagon despite his return fight against Michael Chandler being announced.

McGregor, 34, looks for his first win in over three years when he faces Michael Chandler after coaching against his UFC rival on season 31 of The Ultimate Fighter. No date or location has yet been announced for McGregor's return, but it will likely take place after August as McGregor will need to complete six months of mandatory drug-testing, per UFC policy, before fighting again.

'Notorious' is not currently enrolled in the USADA drug-testing pool and this has left Askren unconfident about the Irishman's comeback fight. "McGregor should’ve picked an easier fight and I’ll actually believe he is gonna fight when he gets in the USADA pool," Askren tweeted.

It's possible that McGregor could make his UFC return before August if the promotion pardons him of USADA's six-month testing peroid, something they have previously done for ex-fighters Brock Lesnar and Miesha Tate. UFC boss Dana White said the promotion's plan is to have McGregor and Chandler fight after the filming of The Ultimate Fighter concludes, which is on August 15.

When do you think Conor McGregor vs Michael Chandler? Let us know your prediction in the comments section below

"Team McGregor vs Team Chandler. This season premieres Tuesday May 30 and runs through Tuesday August 15. "At the end of the season, McGregor and Chandler will fight on pay-per-view, I don't have a date or venue for that but we will announce it soon," White said whilst announcing McGregor's return.

Chandler has gone in 1-3 in his last four fights since winning his UFC debut two years ago. The former Bellator champion has exclusively fought top-ranked opponents, with his losses in the promotion coming to Charles Oliveira, Justin Gaethje and Dustin Poirier. Chandler fought on the undercard of McGregor's stoppage loss to Poirier in January 2021 as he knocked out Dan Hooker at the event.

Conor McGregor hasn't fought since breaking his leg in July 2021 (Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

The American confirmed he will be moving up a weight class to compete against McGregor at 170lb, which is unsurprising given the Irishman's muscle gain since his leg break against Poirier in their trilogy fight. Chandler is happy the fight is taking place at welterweight as he revealed he walks around at 190lb, with McGregor claiming to have bulked up to the same weight last year.

"I'm sitting here at around 190lb right now, I'd love to fight at 170lb. It's fantastic and hopefully it is in Las Vegas. Conor McGregor famously only really fights in Las Vegas, and I want to experience a Vegas fight week. It will be one hundred times different than any other fight," Chandler said on Bussin' with the Boys.

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