After weeks of rumors that Conor McGregor would be one of the coaches on the upcoming season of "The Ultimate Fighter," UFC president Dana White confirmed the move Saturday morning. Michael Chandler will be the opposing coach, and the two veteran MMA stars will fight after the show concludes.
This will be the 31st season of TUF, which helped UFC rise to new heights in 2005 when Forrest Griffin defeated Stephan Bonnar in an action-packed fight in the finale of the inaugural season. White has long credited the fight between Griffin and Bonnar as integral in the UFC's growth.
McGREGOR vs CHANDLER IS CONFIRMED!!@TheNotoriousMMA and @MikeChandlerMMA will officially coach the next season of #TUF31! pic.twitter.com/effjf0Rg2M— UFC (@ufc) February 4, 2023
A former two-division champion, McGregor has gone 1-3 since 2016. His most recent outing was a June 2021 rematch with Dustin Poirier, who knocked him out earlier in the year. In that fight, McGregor suffered a broken leg that resulted in another TKO defeat. Despite his lack of success in recent years and seemingly constant legal trouble, McGregor remains far and away the UFC's biggest star.
Despite rumors stating that Tony Ferguson might coach opposite McGregor, it is Chandler who got the call. Like McGregor, Chandler is on a 1-3 run. After knocking out Dan Hooker in his Octagon debut, Chandler was given a shot at the vacant lightweight title against Charles Oliveira. Despite rocking Oliveira early, Chandler would suffer a TKO 19 seconds into the second round. He then lost an all-action brawl to Justin Gaethje, knocked out Ferguson and got submitted by Poirier.
"The Ultimate Fighter" will air from May 30 to Aug. 15 on ESPN. A date and location for the pay-per-view headlined by McGregor vs. Chandler has not yet been confirmed.