Michael Chandler is set to fight Charles Oliveira for the vacant lightweight championship Saturday, but he's already looking ahead to potential future opponents.
Chandler told TMZ Sports part of him is rooting for Conor McGregor to defeat Dustin Poirier because of the potential financial implications of his next fight.
"Obviously, the athlete in me wants to fight the winner of [Poirier vs. McGregor], the businessman in me wants to fight Conor, of course, but all of it hinges upon me having a phenomenal performance on May 15," Chandler said.
McGregor is set for a rematch against Poirier at UFC 264 in July, which would complete a trilogy of fights that dates back to 2014. McGregor got the best of Poirier in their first bout before he was upset in January in their rematch. UFC's most famous face has lost two of his last three fights and has looked noticeably worse since his 2017 boxing loss to Floyd Mayweather.
"I want to see Conor come back, man. There’s nothing better than when a guy as big as Conor McGregor, falls short, loses and is able to pull himself back and win. It’s a huge story, it’s a huge storyline," Chandler said.
Chandler made his UFC debut on the same card that saw McGregor lose to Poirier, knocking out Dan Hooker in the first round. Long viewed as the best fighter to never compete in the UFC, Chandler is a win against Oliveira away from stamping his name at the top of the sport.
The winner of McGregor-Poirier almost certainly awaits the winner of Chandler-Oliveira, making the next few months vital to the future of the lightweight division.