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Michael Chandler: Only casuals and haters don’t respect Conor McGregor as a fighter

Michael Chandler shuts down Conor McGregor’s haters.

UFC 262: Oliveira v Chandler
Michael Chandler is interviewed following his TKO loss to Charles Oliveira at UFC 262.
Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC

Say what you will about Conor McGregor’s behavior outside of the cage but inside the cage his skills speak for themselves.

Those were the sentiments of No. 5-ranked UFC lightweight and former three-time Bellator lightweight champion Michael Chandler, who shut down McGregor’s most outspoken critics during a recent appearance on Bussin’ With The Boys (h/t Middle Easy).

“He’s a different level of competitor and anybody who discredits him because he’s lost fights is just either a casual or a Conor hater to be honest with you,” Chandler said.

Chandler also believes he and McGregor make for the perfect matchup and claims the latter is criminally underrated in the grappling department.

That left hand can put anybody out on the entire planet,” Chandler said of McGregor’s notoriously deadly left hand. “I think my right hand can put anybody out on the entire planet, so I think it’s a perfect fight. It’s a different approach when you’re fighting a guy like Conor [Mcgregor] because fighting a guy like Gaethje, who loves to brawl, is much easier than a guy who you’re really afraid to sometimes throw a punch at because of the shot that you don’t see coming as you’re pulling your hand back. So, you definitely got to be on your Ps and Qs with the striking. But then the coolest thing about Conor, too, is everybody always talks about how bad of a wrestler he is, how bad of a grappler he is.”

“Chad Mendes took him down a couple times. He got taken down a couple times in the second [Nate Diaz] fight. He got taken down numerous times in other fights, and he has always kept his composure,” he added. “His mental awareness capacity and stability inside of the octagon, inside the confines of competition, especially with how heightened the stakes and the senses are inside of his fights while everybody in the entire world is watching, is something to behold, man. He’s a different level of competitor, and anybody who discredits him because he’s lost fights is just either a casual or a Conor [Mcgregor] hater, to be honest with you.”

Chandler, 35, is looking to rebound from back-to-back losses to Charles Oliveira and Justin Gaethje, while McGregor is currently sidelined due to injury. The latter suffered a broken leg in his trilogy bout with Dustin Poirier at UFC 264, which he lost via first-round TKO (doctor’s stoppage).

Chandler may have lost his last two fights but his most recent performance against Gaethje was outstanding. Both Chandler and Gaethje stood toe-to-toe trading blows in the middle of the octagon for almost the entire fifteen-minute bout duration.

Both fighters walked away with a cushy $50,000 Fight of the Night bonus for their participation in what was undoubtedly one of the greatest fights of the year.