Report: UFC Icon’s Return Sparks Worry Among Supporters

Conor McGregor’s UFC Return: Fans’ Concerns and Hopes for “The Notorious”

Conor McGregor is poised to make his much-anticipated return to the octagon at UFC 303, facing off against Michael Chandler. Despite the excitement surrounding his comeback, fans harbour significant concerns. McGregor’s absence from the sport for nearly three years has raised questions about his readiness and form.

Injury Woes and Ring Rust: The Main Concerns

The foremost worry for McGregor’s supporters is the severe leg injury he sustained during his last bout with Dustin Poirier at UFC 264. This gruesome injury, which occurred in the first round, left fans wondering whether “The Notorious” can reclaim his former agility and power in the octagon.

Since that fight in July 2021, McGregor has not been active in the UFC. His time has primarily been spent recovering and acting in the film “Road House,” with his gym sessions filling the rest of his schedule. On the other hand, Chandler has stayed competitive, fighting twice, once in November 2021 and again in May 2022. This discrepancy in recent fight experience has fans anxious. One fan on X (formerly Twitter) expressed, “Yeah I’ll pay for that fight and I’m taking Chandler. As soon as Chandler kicks [Conor’s] leg it’s over. And McGregor is an over actor. Quit while you’re ahead.”

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Another fan voiced their mixed feelings: “I’d be lying to you if I told you I wasn’t super excited for McGregor-Chandler. But I’m 100% truthful in saying that I’m super worried about seeing one of the fighters I’ve loved since I was a kid get knocked out and go out with a loss.”

Weight Cut Challenges and Age Factors

Adding to the concern is McGregor’s weight. During the filming of “Road House,” he was reportedly around 190 pounds. The bout with Chandler is set at Welterweight (170 pounds), making the weight cut potentially strenuous. The exact current weight of McGregor is unknown, but any significant reduction could impact his performance.

Moreover, age is another factor. McGregor will turn 36 just weeks after the fight. While not necessarily old for a fighter, combined with his injury history and time away from the sport, it adds another layer of uncertainty about his physical readiness.

Path to Victory: McGregor’s Chances Against Chandler

Despite these concerns, victory is not out of reach for McGregor. Oddsmakers see the fight as almost evenly matched, with McGregor’s moneyline at -105 and Chandler’s at -115 according to DraftKings Sportsbook.

Chandler’s strong wrestling background might seem intimidating, but his tendency to engage in stand-up battles could play to McGregor’s strengths. Chandler has been involved in some memorable slugfests with fighters like Justin Gaethje and Dustin Poirier. If McGregor can keep the fight standing and improve his takedown defence, he might find success.

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Chandler’s recent UFC record also offers some hope. He has lost three of his last four fights, including two by knockout and one by submission. This mirrors McGregor’s record, suggesting that both fighters are in a similar position. McGregor’s strategy should focus on his striking, aiming to capitalise on Chandler’s defensive lapses.

McGregor’s Knockout Power: A Key Factor

McGregor’s history in the UFC showcases his knockout power. Of his 10 wins in the UFC, eight have been by knockout, with five of these occurring in the first round. His path to victory likely involves an early finish, which could reignite his career and set up high-profile future fights, possibly even a BMF title fight with Max Holloway.

The stakes are high for McGregor. A win could rejuvenate his status in the MMA world and open up lucrative opportunities. However, a loss might push him towards other ventures, perhaps more roles in Hollywood.

Conclusion

Conor McGregor’s return to the UFC is shrouded in both excitement and uncertainty. Fans are eager to see if “The Notorious” can overcome his injury, manage the weight cut, and defeat a formidable opponent in Michael Chandler. While there are significant concerns, McGregor’s undeniable talent and knockout power keep hopes alive. UFC 303 promises to be a pivotal moment in his career, one that could either mark a spectacular comeback or signal a new direction for the Irish superstar.

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