Renato Moicano didn’t expect to get pulled into the drama surrounding Conor McGregor’s long-awaited return to the UFC, but somehow it happened.
Before announcing plans for a showdown against Michael Chandler in June, McGregor mocked his fellow The Ultimate Fighter coach by tweeting, “Chandler-Moicano, now there is a [UFC 300] main event.” Moicano quickly fired back by writing, “Nah, I’m good, too easy,” but even he was caught off guard by the random mention on social media.
Now just days away from his own fight at UFC Vegas 85, Moicano admits he didn’t have time to think about a response, or perhaps he would have unleashed a better comeback.
“The problem is I don’t have time right now to be smart or to check Twitter,” Moicano told MMA Fighting. “I think if I would have had time to think about a better response, I would do it, but right now I am in training camp.
“I love to talk about fights, but I’m training like a killer so I’m not worrying too much about what McGregor thinks. F*** McGregor.”
As much as he might dismiss McGregor’s sideways shot at him, Moicano remains an interested observer in everything that’s happening in his division, including the Irish superstar fighting for the first time in three years.
After coaching against each other in the long-running reality series, which began filming this past March, McGregor was expected to return against Chandler before the end of 2023. That didn’t happen, but Chandler has continued waiting in hopes that he will fight McGregor sooner rather than later.
The next proposed date was UFC 300 in April, but then McGregor made a surprise announcement that he would clash with Chandler in June, and they’d go to war as middleweights despite both typically competing at 155 pounds. That matchup has yet to be finalized or officially announced by the UFC, however Moicano saw McGregor’s comments as another example of how McGregor maintains control over his fights and even his opponents, with Chandler’s only recourse being to say, ‘Please sir, I want some more.’
“Michael Chandler is so desperate to get this fight,” Moicano said. “He’s almost begging. He’s almost on his knees, ‘McGregor fight me!’ I just think that’s hilarious.
“We don’t know if that fight’s going to happen. McGregor is full crazy nowadays. He’s making videos eating food and he looks drunk or on drugs or something, I don’t know. But I like McGregor, to be honest with you. I think he’s funny. I think he’s entertaining. Michael Chandler is just trying to get the fight and it’s kind of lame, if you ask me. It is what it is.”
Chandler effectively put his career on hold waiting for McGregor, although that fight is widely considered to be one of the most lucrative paydays in the sport. Moicano doesn’t mind that Chandler wants it, but rather that he’s effectively telling McGregor that he’ll do whatever it takes for the fight to happen, even if that means waiting for more than a year and competing in a much bigger weight class.
“Chandler is saying, ‘Yes, yes, of course!’ On his knees all the time,” Moicano said. “[Chandler says,] ‘OK, I can beat you in any fight, I want you at your best version.’ F*** you, brother. You just want to fight him. It’s fair game. Everyone wants to fight McGregor. If they offered me the fight, of course I would want to fight McGregor. He’s probably the biggest name in MMA and probably of all-time. Everybody knows McGregor.
“But at the same time, I think if Chandler approaches this differently, trying to trash talk, that would be even better. That’s the fight to make. They’re going to make the fight. There’s no other fight for McGregor. Right now, there is no other fight that makes sense and still McGregor tries to play him and he says OK. No, talk trash, talk s*** about him, because that’s the way we like to watch fights with McGregor.”
Realistically, Moicano feels that McGregor knows Chandler is the best possible fight for his comeback and it’s really the only matchup that makes much sense.
That being said, McGregor maintains so much power and control over his career that he could always decide to fight somebody else and Chandler could be left in the lurch … and he knows it.
“Let’s be honest, who else in the top five, top 10, who would be a good opponent for McGregor?” Moicano said. “Because imagine Benoit Saint Denis with the fight against Dustin Poirier. It doesn’t make any sense to me. That fight doesn’t make any sense, but imagine if they put Saint Denis against McGregor or [Arman] Tsarukyan against McGregor. They’re going to put [Beneil] Dariush [against McGregor], nobody really knows Dariush. To fight McGregor, you have to be a face like Chandler. He was the Bellator champion. The UFC can sell the fight. Imagine against Dariush or against Benoit Saint Denis.
“There is no other fight for McGregor than Chandler. That fight is going to happen, 100 percent. Chandler knows, that’s why he’s keeping his mouth shut. Like McGregor said on the show, you’re going to do like I told you, or something along those lines. Because eventually that is the fight to make.”