Morning Report: Josh Thomson explains why Conor McGregor vs. Michael Chandler is ‘not a high-level fight’

Conor McGregor vs. Michael Chandler still isn’t official.

The longer the wait, the less interesting the fight feels. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, or you’re out of sight and out of mind. Luckily for both men, McGregor and Chandler have managed to stay visible through movie roles and on-screen promos since they coached against each other on The Ultimate Fighter 31 (TUF) last year.

It’s been stated by both recently that their summer target date is a go — without the aforementioned official announcement. However, time waits for no one, especially in MMA. McGregor, 35, last fought in July 2021 and was forced to heal a badly broken leg before he landed his role in the new Road House movie. With all the factors considered, former Strikeforce champion and UFC lightweight contender Josh Thomson doesn’t see the potential matchup delivering as greatly as it could have.

“When Nate Diaz did it (beat McGregor), it was special,” Thomson said on his Weighing In podcast. “We thought Conor was the man, and Nate did it coming in on what? Two weeks’ notice? That was amazing, and it was the way the fight played out.

“It was amazing because he got his ass kicked for the first round. He started coming on, and then in the second round, everything happened. But, if Chandler did it (beat McGregor), I don’t even think we would be impressed. You beat a dude that’s been doing movies and drinking and partying for three years.”

A win for Chandler would be his first since he knocked out Tony Ferguson with a devastating second-round front kick at UFC 274 in May 2022. The delay in the McGregor fight has kept the former three-time Bellator champion out far longer than he’d have hoped. “Not in it for a long time, but a good time,” Chandler’s last fight was an instant classic vs. Dustin Poirier in November 2022. He lost via a third-round rear-naked choke.

McGregor also last fought Poirier — back-to-back — and hasn’t won even longer than his expected return opponent. “The Notorious” needed 40 seconds to finish Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone with strikes in January 2020, but aside from that, his last lightweight victory was his November 2016 title win against Eddie Alvarez.

Ultimately, Thomson knows the fight is fun. It just doesn’t need to be made up as something it won’t be.

“Why are we giving credence to the victory over someone who is definitely been removed completely from training?” Thomson asked. “[McGregor’s] not really training the way he was when he was fighting Dustin, or when he was fighting Khabib [Nurmagomedov], or when he was fighting Eddie Alvarez and Jose Aldo. So why are we putting so much on this fight?

“I think it’s going to be a great fight. I think it’s going to be a fun fight. Someone’s is getting knocked the f*** out. I’m not discrediting the fight at all in terms of the level of entertainment, but I don’t want to give it too much love and be like, ‘This is a high-level fight.’ No, it’s not. It’s not a high-level fight. We’re not getting the best Conor McGregor.”

Questions. Monday Mailbag: Manon Fiorot’s rise, Erin Blanchfield’s fall, and the value of being a hoss at UFC Atlantic City

Aftermath. Joaquin Buckley: Vicente Luque quit at UFC Atlantic City, ‘didn’t want to be in there in the first place

Ambition. CM Punk on surreal UFC run: ‘What the f*** was I thinking?

Success. ‘Road House’ remake starring Conor McGregor delivers Amazon’s biggest streaming debut ever

Time-Off. UFC Atlantic City medical suspensions: Chris Weidman, Bruno Silva need doctor clearance

Assistance. Kamaru Usman mimicked Georges St-Pierre in Johny Hendricks fight camp: ‘I was doing Georges better than Georges

Nasty. Jack Della Maddalena dealt with staph infection ahead of UFC 299: ‘We didn’t really train

Expectation. Renato Moicano believes Michael Chandler is tailor-made opponent to let Conor McGregor ‘shine’

The MMA Hour.

UFC Vegas 90 Promo.

[embedded content]

Allen’s RNCs.

[embedded content]

Free fight.

[embedded content]

RIZIN 46 Trailer.

[embedded content]

PFL Fight Week.

[embedded content]

Wild one.

[embedded content]

Gaethje’s Road to UFC 300.

[embedded content]

Reaction compilation.

[embedded content]

Almighty Cooking Blighty.

[embedded content]

On To the Next One. MMA Fighting’s Mike Heck and Alex K. Lee discuss matches to make after UFC Atlantic City.

Drink up.

Go to Twitter, use the #MorningReport hashtag, or find one of my tweets with it, and drop me a jam you’re currently really into. I’ll pick the best one alongside my daily choice and give you a shoutout! You can also share in the comments below — those are just harder to sift through sometimes!

Glove debate.



Fedor looking slim.

Tune up…?

New adventure.

Diamond back.

Challenge accepted.

I’m not sure how he looks in person, but going from that photo, I can’t help but imagine a svelte Fedor at light heavyweight in his prime. Yeesh.

Thanks for reading!


Who wins this weekend?

  • 76%

    Brendan Allen

    (80 votes)

  • 23%

    Chris Curtis

    (24 votes)

104 votes total Vote Now

If you find something you’d like to see in the Morning Report, hit up @DrakeRiggs_ on Twitter and let him know about it. Also, follow MMAFighting on Instagram and like us on Facebook.