Conor McGregor predicts he’ll “slice through” Michael Chandler when they eventually meet inside the Octagon later this year.

McGregor is back in Las Vegas coaching the upcoming season of The Ultimate Fighter, and will take on rival TUF coach Chandler in his comeback fight at the conclusion of the season.

For McGregor, it’s a chance to get back in the mix once again after a lengthy spell on the sidelines rehabbing the broken leg he sustained in his trilogy fight with Dustin Poirier at UFC 264 in July 2010. Now back to full fitness and looking big, McGregor is ready to return to action – first as a coach, then as a fighter.

Speaking to The Mac Life from the UFC Performance Institute in Las Vegas, McGregor opened up on his return, why he opted to coach TUF again, and shared some early thoughts on his upcoming bout with Chandler.

Why coach TUF?

To be fully immersed, to be immersed in the game, in the business, in the company, and to be around these young hungry fighters that are coming up, and to put myself right in the mix, and get back out and get back on the horse. So that was my motivation. And my reason for doing it, you know, also to give back to the game, give my wisdom and my knowledge to the next generation. And then, feed off that energy, also.

Differences between his last TUF coaching stint and this one

It’s very different. I came off a heavy training camp, a heavy bout itself. And you know, the big gash under the eye,  coming in with the belt. So I didn’t really train with the lads, and although I gave them what I gave them and we won the show, it was a great showing. This one’s a lot different. I’m also incorporating my own training now, and starting to get into it also. So, it was great to get on the mats. Good day, today.

The lads had that energy and that anxiety and it’s out of them now, that’s settled. They’ll be able to go home and settle and rest and know that they’ve had that feeling. And then tomorrow, it’s on again. They’ve got to carry themselves like it’s on every day, because it is on every day.

Memories of being an up-and-comer

I always took motivation from hard workers, people chasing their dream, you know? People that defy doubt, that do not listen to outside noise, and are committed solely to their purpose. What better example than a reality show like this, “The Ultimate Fighter,” where they come in and fight for their life? So, I’m feeding off this energy very well. And you know, I’ve work to do and I’m happy where I’m at. And I’m gonna continue to do so.

Is winning TUF important as a coach?

So be it. Amen. God will decide what way it goes down. The lads, you put them in the most healthy, safe training environment. Competitive, you’re not overdoing it, not underdoing it, you know? Give them some motivation and some encouragement. And then all you can do is, off they go. Let them fly.

Thoughts on Michael Chandler

I actually like Michael. I had a good little buzz with him yesterday. No issues with him at all. He’s a good fighter. Coaching against him, I’m interested to see his coaching style. He’s more of an athlete type of a guy than a technical martial artist. And I know he’s got some skills in the wrestling department and he’s got some skills overall. But, as far as the small finer details, I just don’t think…  I’m not sure. I’m interested to see, you know? I’m happy where I’m at. It’ll be an interesting one to go against him before I go against him.

Chandler similar in style to Chad Mendes?

Similar. Similar, for sure. I think I’m just gonna slice through him. I think I’m a little too slicy for him than anyone else he’s fought. A little too snappy and whippy. I think I’ll slice through him.

Will he fight Chandler at 170 or 155?

185! (laughs). That’s what I said to him yesterday. I said, ‘Do you know what weight we’re doing? Are you alright with 185?!’ Just having a buzz with him. He’s a nice guy.