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Michael Chandler claims Conor McGregor will never want to step ‘back into the octagon’ after UFC 303 bout

In less than two months, Conor McGregor and Michael Chandler will meet inside the Octagon at UFC 303.

The closest McGregor and Chandler came to going head-to-head happened when they were opposing coaches during the most recent season of “The Ultimate Fighter.”

But once Season 31 of the reality series concluded, it started to seem less and less likely that McGregor and Chandler would ever actually face off in the cage. When McGregor and Chandler step into the cage on June 29, it will put an end to the uncertainty surrounding the upcoming matchup.

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(L-R) Conor McGregor and Michael Chandler face off during the filming of The Ultimate Fighter at UFC APEX on March 13, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

During an interview with ESPN MMA in January, Chandler was asked if he expects to be the last opponent McGregor squares off with before he calls it quits.

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“I do. I think I’ll be the last person,” Chandler said. “I think I dominate him in a fashion that — it’s almost as if he can keep trying to come back, but he will have lost the fan’s interest so much more after I do what I’m going to do to him on June 29.”

(L-R) Conor McGregor and Michael Chandler shake hands during the filming of The Ultimate Fighter at UFC APEX on March 13, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

McGregor has been sidelined for nearly three years. He suffered an injury during his last bout in July 2021 against Dustin Poirier. McGregor was defeated in that competition.

Chandler also came up briefly in his last bout against Poirier at UFC 281 in Nov. 2022 in New York City.

(L-R) Conor McGregor and Michael Chandler face off during the filming of The Ultimate Fighter at UFC APEX on March 3, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

As frustrating as it was awaiting word of the fight, Chandler never wavered in his desire to hold out to face McGregor, and he says the UFC never offered him an alternative, which buoyed his belief that the fight would eventually go down.

McGregor and Chandler are both scheduled to enter the cage late next month following the longest gaps between fights in their respective careers. But, Chandler said the extended time off did offer some positives.

“I got to spend more time with my family than I ever have,” Chandler said via The New York Post. “I did a lot of business stuff outside of fighting, raised money for charity, philanthropy. I was busy. I kept busy.”

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Chandler, the Bellator lightweight champion, is confident he will defeat McGregor soundly and that the Irishman, who goes by the moniker “The Notorious”, will have no interest in “stepping back into the octagon.”

“I truly believe what I’m going to do to him on June 29 is going to warrant and merit him never stepping back into the octagon,” Chandler proclaims with conviction.

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Chantz Martin is a sports writer for Fox News Digital.