Conor McGregor targets more UFC gold and Nate Diaz trilogy after Chandler fight

Former two-weight champion says he would like a shot at welterweight title should he beat Chandler in comeback fight

Conor McGregor will star opposite Michael Chandler, his next opponent, on the upcoming season of 'The Ultimate Fighter'. AFP
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Conor McGregor is targeting a title shot at welterweight should he get past Michael Chandler in his comeback bout later this year – while he says a trilogy bout with Nate Diaz will happen.

The former two-division champion, 34, will make his highly anticipated return to the UFC against Chandler after this summer, with the two just wrapping up filming the next series of The Ultimate Fighter, in which they serve as rival coaches.

Although there has been no confirmation of where and when the bout will take place, and at what weight, McGregor said on Wednesday that 170 lbs is most likely. The former featherweight and lightweight champion has not competed since sustaining a serious leg injury in July 2021.

Speaking to Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour, McGregor said he planned to attend this weekend’s UFC 286 in London, where welterweight champion Leon Edwards defends his crown in the trilogy clash with former belt-holder Kamaru Usman.

“Yeah, I’d like [a welterweight title shot],” the Irishman said. “I would like that.”

McGregor, who has competed three times previously at welterweight, said the fight with Chandler could be held in Las Vegas, New York or AT&T Stadium in Dallas, or even London. He also said he could envisage competing in the UFC twice before the year is out.

McGregor’s most recent appearance was at UFC 264 in Las Vegas two summers ago, when he suffered a broken leg right at the end of the first round in his third encounter with Dustin Poirier.

Meanwhile, McGregor is confident he will close out his rivalry with old foe Diaz. The pair traded victories in two of the most high-profile UFC bouts in history, in 2016, although Diaz has since left the promotion.

On Wednesday, McGregor said he and Diaz were initially approached to coach opposite one another on the upcoming The Ultimate Fighter 31. The series is set to begin airing in May.

The Ultimate Fighter just kind of presented itself,” McGregor said. “It was originally for me to be against Nate. It was me versus Nate. I did not mind who it was against, to be honest. Nor do I mind who I compete against, that’s widely known.

“I had agreed to it, it was Nate. It was a day or two before and now it’s Chandler. I’m not sure what went down on that end. It was me versus Chandler and I have no problem with it; I’m happy with it. It’s going to be a good bout for sure.”

On the Diaz trilogy, McGregor added: “No, I’ll get that again. That trilogy will happen at some stage, for sure. He was gone [from the UFC], but he was still doing the show. That’s all politics.

"We must fight. We’re one-apiece. It’s a great rivalry and it was a great fight. We’ve got to square that away, for sure. Am I a person not to get the fights made and done and happen? Look at all the fights I’ve had.

"When I say it, it happens. I have a load of bouts left in me. A lot of [my] story is incomplete. I’m excited to continue on and get them done.”

Updated: March 16, 2023, 8:00 AM