DANA WHITE insists Conor McGregor’s next fight will be against Michael Chandler – not Justin Gaethje.
McGregor, however, has publicly pivoted to a grudge match with BMF champ Justin Gaethje in recent weeks, although White is adamant the UFC brass won’t deviate from their initial plans for their poster boy.
The veteran promoter, 54, roared on Wednesday morning: “Yes he’s fighting Chandler.”
White insists McGregor’s recent Twitter callouts and tirades at Gaethje are nothing more than mind games to get in Chandler’s head.
The MMA supremo said of the Irishman’s recent social media antics: “He likes to f*** with everybody.
“You know what I mean? Especially his opponent, or possible opponents.”
The delay in finalising McGregor’s comeback fight seemingly stems from him not being back in the United States Anti-Doping Agency’s testing pool.
McGregor, 35, must re-enrol in the pool for a minimum of six months before he’s eligible to fight again, although the UFC can issue an exemption to the written notice rule.
Despite not being back in the UFC’s drug testing pool, the promotion’s first simultaneous two-weight champion is adamant he wants to fight again – a sentiment he doubled down on during a recent chat with White.
White said: “I talked to Conor, either yesterday or the day before. And yeah, he’s ready to fight.
“I said, ‘Listen, get in shape and let’s figure this out.’”
Despite the uncertainty over his clash with McGregor – which was on course to take in December – Chandler is adamant he’ll welcome the Dubliner back to the octagon.
He told ESPN: “The beautiful thing about mixed martial arts is it’s the what have you done for me lately business and everyone has a short-term memory and we all succumb to a recency bias.
“I’m not really that worried about it. I believe the fight is happening.
“The fight makes too much sense for it not to happen.
“I’m still the most entertaining guy on the doggone roster.
“Everyone wants to see the greatest comeback in combat sports history.
“So I think it’s going to be me and Conor. That’s it.”