Former Bellator lightweight champion Michael Chandler has been making some serious waves inside the octagon since departing from his longtime home in 2020.
Though he’s gone just 2-2 thus far in the UFC, these four fights couldn’t have been more exciting.
After knocking out Dan Hooker in his promotional debut, becoming the first man to do so, he would drop his next two to Charles Oliveira (TKO) in their title fight and then Justin Gaethje (UD) in their Fight of the Year winner last fall.
Chandler absolutely smashed Oliveira in the first round of their fight, some even scored it 10-8 in favor of him, and he nearly knocked Gaethje out more than once in their three round affair.
Nonetheless, he’d go 1-2 through his first three bouts with the promotion, en route to his fight against former interim champion Tony Ferguson this past weekend at UFC 274.
After some adversity early on, Chandler secured an explosive double leg takedown, where he remained for the second half of the first, reigning down shots from top position. This led up to his second round KO victory, where he threw and landed a nasty front kick to Ferguson’s chin just 17 seconds into the middle stretch.
This was devastating to see, no one wanted Ferguson to get put out like that, but it was incredibly impressive.
And, it begs the question, what’s next for Michael Chandler?
He called for a rematch of the Oliveira vs Gaethje winner following his victory, but that shot presumably belongs to Islam Makhachev.
That leaves us with a few fun match ups Chandler could take.
For one, the other man he called out, former UFC champ-champ Conor McGregor plans to return this summer, and this would be the perfect fight to make for that return.
Both men are incredibly sharp and accurate with their striking, and both are quite explosive and powerful as well.
Chandler has been susceptible to leg kicks in the past, something McGregor is great at, and he’s also been susceptible to taking punches, something McGregor is really great at.
That being said, Chandler’s wrestling could be enough to put the Irishman on his back, repeatedly perhaps, and he may be able to land some thunderous punches on McGregor himself.
This would be the perfect fight to make for each man in the coming months.
Next up is another former interim champion, no. 1 ranked Dustin Poirier.
With how good Poirier’s boxing is, how well rounded he is, this would also be a near perfect match up to see each man in. They’re two of the hardest hitters in the entire division; the only one that can really compare to their punching power is Justin Gaethje, someone Chandler just fought a few months ago.
Chandler stated that he’d take his next fight at welterweight as well, that he’d fight McGregor or Poirier up at 170 lbs.
So, with Nate Diaz’ contract coming to an end once his next bout is all said and done, why not match these two up?
Diaz is still awaiting his final UFC bout agreement, and him facing literally anyone is a big attraction.
And, at this point, Chandler facing anyone is a major attraction as well.
The way these two would match up is just exciting to think about.
Diaz’ long arms aid him in his elite-level boxing, and he’s a 3rd-degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He may have a good number of losses on his record, but you cannot deny Diaz’ potency at times.
Whoever he ends up facing next, we’ll all be tuning in to see ‘Iron’ Michael Chandler compete again!
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I became a fan of combat sports when I was 12 years old. I was scrolling through the channels and landed upon versus, where WEC was televised. Urijah Faber fought Jens Pulver for the second time that night. That’s the first fight I saw, and the fight that got me hooked on the sport. Since then, the sport has grown so rapidly, and my goal is to enlighten everyone on what’s going on in the sport today.