Jan. 23, 2021, 7:30 p.m. ET
It might help to think of the two fights atop U.F.C. 257 as a playoff bracket, with Chandler and Hooker on one side and McGregor and Poirier on the other. Chandler’s value in his U.F.C. debut, after all, is that if he wins impressively, he provides another high-stakes option for McGregor later this year, provided that McGregor wins as well.
That matchup, of course, isn’t guaranteed.
A year ago, U.F.C.’s president, Dana White, spoke openly of matching McGregor and the lightweight champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov, in a football stadium. One year, one pandemic and one retirement later, it appears that a rematch might never happen. So right now, McGregor-Chandler looks like the medium-term goal, and Justin Gaethje could also be an option.