Former UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor, who also held gold at 145 pounds, has been hanging around (or stumbling around, depending on who you ask) the UFC Performance Institute the last few weeks while serving as coach of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 31 in Las Vegas.
Somewhere along the way, McGregor crossed paths with No. 6-ranked lightweight contender Rafael Fiziev, no stranger to “Notorious” beefs. It sounds like “Ataman” was taken aback by the Irishman’s face, which according to the Azerbaijanian striker, appeared a little worse for the wear.
“Bro, I saw McGregor’s face when he came to the UFC P.I., I think too much party,” Fiziev told Submission Radio. “Too much party every day. You know, his face like… he looks like he rest a lot, drink Proper 12 a lot. Yeah, I think (Michael) Chandler has a big chance to make his future sweet. Chandler, he also has good timing, has big power. He just has to do like smart, everything smart with McGregor. No need to make like something crazy like with Justin. You know, put his hands down, going forward. This he has to delete it. Have to need more smart a little bit and he can beat him for sure. I believe a hundred percent.”
McGregor will coach against Chandler on TUF 31 then throw hands with “Iron” atop one of the promotion's pay-per-view (PPV) cards later this year. As for Fiziev, he’s scheduled to collide with all-action lightweight fighter Justin Gaethje at UFC 286 in March in a battle with serious title implications.
It’s not unrealistic to think the winner of McGregor-Chandler could end up facing the winner of Fiziev-Gaethje at some point in the very near future, or perhaps the winner of this pivotal lightweight fight, depending on how the promotion next books current 155-pound champion Islam Makhachev.