Michael Chandler offers Conor McGregor fight verdict amid UFC 303 rumours

Michael Chandler has insisted that his fight with Conor McGregor “is on”, amid speculation that the UFC 303 main event could be cancelled.

Last Monday (3 June), a pre-fight press conference in Dublin was cancelled on short notice, with the UFC providing no explanation for the move.

In the following days, the UFC removed its recently uploaded YouTube videos of past McGregor fights, while the Irishman and Chandler shared cryptic posts on social media.

However, Chandler has moved to allay fears around the 29 June bout, telling The Pivot podcast on Friday (7 June): “The fight’s happening. Where we are right now, there’s a lot of speculation, but the fight is on.

“29 June, it’s happening [...] I do believe that Conor shows up. Conor shows up under the bright lights, he lives for these moments.”

The UFC has begun to re-upload YouTube videos of past McGregor and Chandler fights. Meanwhile, former dual-weight champion McGregor has shared a series of sparring videos, easing fears that he might be injured.

Discussing the cancelled press conference, Chandler added: “I was actually up late [the previous Saturday] night, because the fights were on the east coast.

“So, I didn’t get into bed until like 12.30am, 1am, because I wanted to watch Islam [Makhachev] vs [Dustin] Poirier. Watched that fight, so I had probably fallen asleep for maybe 45 minutes, maybe an hour, and I woke up to my phone buzzing.

“It was [UFC CBO] Hunter Campbell. Everyone knows [UFC president] Dana White as the face, but Hunter Campbell is kind of the guy behind the guy. He handles a lot of stuff in the UFC, and he called me and let me know: ‘Hey, it’s looking like this thing isn’t going to happen.’

Chandler (pictured) has not fought since November 2022; McGregor last fought in July 2021 (Getty Images)
Chandler (pictured) has not fought since November 2022; McGregor last fought in July 2021 (Getty Images)

“So, obviously I laid there and thought about it for quite a while, and then the next morning, we got on a call. He said: ‘It’s not happening.’

“A cancelled presser... not that big of a deal, right? It happens, but it’s the layers in which... If a presser is cancelled, is something else wrong? Is there something going on? Obviously immediately, speculation starts going all over the place in 2024 – social media and all that stuff.

“I just kept resting in the fact that I can only control what I can control. I’ve been doing that now for a year-and-a-half.”

McGregor vs Chandler was first announced in February 2023. However, the date, location and weight class were only announced in April 2024; the fight will take place at welterweight, at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

McGregor, 35, last fought in July 2021, suffering a broken leg in his second straight loss to Dustin Poirier. American Chandler, 38, last competed in November 2022, losing to Poirier via submission.