Michael Chandler may have been battered and bruised following his loss to Dustin Poirier at UFC 281, but the always-positive lightweight contender still has high hopes for a huge fight with Conor McGregor down the line.

Chandler went back and forth with Poirier in a thrilling main card clash at Madison Square Garden before eventually succumbing to a third-round rear-naked choke finish. But, despite that loss, he still thinks he’s in prime position to face McGregor when the Irishman makes his eventual return to the octagon next year.

“Of course, man. I mean, I think at this point, he comes back and he looks at the suitors. I don’t think I’m the easiest fight that he could take, but I do think I’m the biggest fight that he could take,” he told reporters at the UFC 281 post-fight press conference.

“I think Conor McGregor stepping back in the Octagon does does big numbers, no matter what. But if he and I step inside the octagon, we do staggering numbers. You know? I do think that.

“I respect him (and) I would love to see him come back. Maybe, maybe I’m the guy he comes back and fights.”

McGregor is currently out of the USADA testing pool, and will need to spend six months in the pool before he’s cleared to compete in the octagon again. Chandler called for the Dubliner to jump back in and get that process started so they can face off sometime in the summer of 2023.

“Yeah, get on it, man,” he said.

“We all know that fighting is his first love. Exactly six years ago today, November 12, 2016, he became the double champion, he apologised to absolutely nobody and it was absolutely awesome.

“He’s a legend in the sport, man, the biggest name in the sport. It was bad enough we had to compete with Bentleys and Bugattis and boats, and $100-million-dollar whiskey companies. Now we got to compete with the silver lights, the silver screens and the bright lights of Hollywood, man! But come back to your first love, Conor. Step inside the octagon with me.”