We study the coupled translational and internal dynamics of a two-level atom in a spatially periodic optical potential created by a single-mode field in a high-finesse Fabry-Perot cavity. The strongly-coupled atom-cavity system with atomic center-of-mass motion included in modeled by semiclassical nonlinear Heisenberg equations of motion with two degrees of freedom. At exact resonance between the internal atomic transition and the cavity eigen frequency, the internal and translational degrees of freedom are separated from each other resulting in periodically modulated Rabi oscillations and regular translational motion. Near the atom-field resonance, the coupled dynamics is found to be irregular and even chaotic in the sense of external sensitivity to initial conditions. It is manifested as a chaotic motion of an atom in an absolutely regular spatially periodic potential in the absence of any random fluctuations. This effect may be explained as a result of the interaction of nonlinear resonances in the atom-field nonlinear pendulum whose low- frequency translational motion is modulated by the high- frequency Rabi oscillations. The irregular motion is studied in detail in numerical experiments using the arsenal of methods of the dynamical systems theory. The results obtained are compared with recent experiments with ultra cold single atoms interacting with single photons in the strong-coupling regime. We estimate the ranges of the system's control parameters, the detuning, the recoil frequency, and the mean number of intracavity photons, in which the interaction of nonlinear resonances may lead, under realistic conditions, to local instability of the center-of-mass motion and some manifestations of dynamical chaos, the effect which is of interest in studying the quantum-classical correspondence and quantum chaos in atomic optics.