We look at the early betting lines for the marquee matchup.
Is McGregor Past His Best?
There is a case to be made that McGregor is well past his best.
The 35-year-old hasn’t won since 2020, which came against an aging Donald Cerrone, and his record surrounding that win is average.
He comes off consecutive losses to Dustin Poirier, both coming by TKO, where he was embarrassed.
It’s not a good look for the former two-belt champion, and McGregor’s wins prior to his loss against Khabib Nurmagomedov came against Eddie Alvarez and Nate Diaz, who weren’t at the top of their games.
The sportsbook has McGregor at -130 to beat Chandler, which is an interesting line. We think betting online markets might be respecting his name more than his recent achievements because he doesn’t have any.
UFC commentator Jon Rogan believes if anyone can come off a two-year break, it’s McGregor, but he also provides reasoning as to why he wouldn’t.
“If anybody can do it, maybe it’s him. He snapped his leg in the prime of his career. Anderson was a little older, I believe he was 36, 37 when he snapped his leg,” Rogan said. “Chris Weidman was a little bit older, it’s a hard one to come back from.”
“It’s been about two years and there’s all this talk of him fighting Michael Chandler from The Ultimate Fighter. He’s sparring, I’ve seen footage of sparring. He looks good, he looks real good.”
We’re not sure McGregor would be at the top of our UFC betting picks. There is too much doubt in our minds. Doubt about whether he really wants to make another run at the title.
Chandler Needs a Win
Much like McGregor, Chandler has struggled to show his best form in the Octagon recently.
He has three defeats from his last four fights, including losses to Charles Oliveira, Justin Gaethje, and Dustin Poirier.
His only win came against Tony Ferguson, who is well past his best, so that’s why sports betting markets have Chandler as the -110 underdog.
When taking a deep dive into his record, it raises concerns. Chandler won his UFC debut, but that came against New Zealand’s Dan Hooker. Hooker is a fine fighter in his own right, but he’s not one of the world’s best.
Oliveira, Gaethje, and Poirer are three of the world’s best lightweights, but he lost to them all. He was TKO’d by Oliveira in the second round before losing to Gaethje by decision.
His most recent fight was a submission loss to Poirier in 2022, so the Ultimate Fighter team captain needs a win to keep his career alive.
The former Bellator champion has the skills needed to handle McGregor, and he’s often featured in our UFC best bets. However, he needs to be at his best.
The key for Chandler is he close the space and land a right hook on McGregor early in the contest. If he allows McGregor space to use leg kicks, it could be a long night for the Missouri native.
Because of the popularity of McGregor, bettors could wait and get a better price for Chandler. The -110 price could move to around +110 on fight night, as casual UFC fans will bet McGregor.