Michael Chandler
Iron

USA

Returning at UFC 268
LightweightUFC
July 30, 2021
Chandler has agreed to face Justin Gaethje in a lightweight bout at UFC 268 in November, Brett Okamoto of ESPN.com reports.
ANALYSIS
Chandler most recently fought in May, when he lost to Charles Oliveira via TKO (punches) at UFC 262 and was unable to secure the UFC Lightweight Championship. He'll take on another former title contender in Gaethje, who lost to Khabib Nurmagomedov via technical submission (arm triangle) at UFC 254 in October of 2020. Gaethje has advantages in both height and reach.
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Quest for title comes up short
LightweightUFC
May 15, 2021
Chandler came up short in his quest for the vacant UFC Lightweight Championship on Saturday, falling to Charles Oliveira via TKO (punches) at 0:19 of Round 2 at UFC 262 in Houston.
ANALYSIS
Competing in the UFC for just a second time, Chandler appeared to be seconds away from stopping Oliveira on multiple occasions in Round 1. He clamped on a very deep guillotine in addition to another instance in which referee Dan Miragliotta nearly stepped in following countless unanswered power shots from Chandler. Oliveira ultimately survived, and Chandler ate a counter shot early in Round 2 that turned the tide of the fight. It was over seconds later. To the surprise of absolutely no one, Chandler handled the defeat with pure class, praising Oliveira and promising to be back and better than ever in the near future. There's no reason not to believe it. Chandler has proven to be an elite 155-pounder in his brief time with the company, and the 35-year-old Missouri native should be back in the Octagon sooner rather than later.
Gets title shot at UFC 262
LightweightUFC
March 19, 2021
Chandler will face Charles Oliveira for the vacant UFC Lightweight Championship at UFC 262 on May 15, Brett Okamoto of ESPN.com reports.
ANALYSIS
It's a bit odd to see a 155-pound title fight without Dustin Poirier involved in it, but Dana White and the UFC brass will instead ride Chandler's momentum from a first-round knockout win over Dan Hooker in his January debut in the UFC. A former Bellator Lightweight Champion, Chandler is at the edge of his prime at the age of 34, so the UFC figures it will get this done sooner rather than later. He'll be giving up two inches in height and three inches in reach to Oliveira, a submission specialist averaging 2.64 takedowns per 15 minutes of fight time. Chandler is a NCAA DIvision 1 All-American wrestler himself, however, so the skills to remain upright are certainly there. He also owns more KO/TKO wins than Oliveira in his career, so Chandler's best path to victory will likely be to build on his Performance-of-the-Night winning effort against Hooker and get the stoppage.
Legendary effort in UFC debut
LightweightUFC
January 23, 2021
Chandler defeated Dan Hooker via TKO (punches) at 2:30 of Round 1 at UFC 257 on Saturday in Abu Dhabi.
ANALYSIS
Chandler's long-awaited UFC debut was flawless, as he announced himself as a major star with legitimate drawing power in his first fight with the company. Going up against an opponent known for his legendary durability, Chandler connected with one left hook and some follow up shots that turned Hooker's lights out. It's no surprise to see him walk away with a $50,000 Performance of the Night bonus after an outstanding effort like this. A former three-time Bellator Lightweight Champion, there were concerns Chandler made a name for himself in that organization beating up on lesser opponents. That clearly is not the case. The beauty of this one is that anything is seemingly possible for Chandler in his next fight. You'll hear plenty of mentions of semi-retired UFC Lightweight Champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, in addition to certain rumblings regarding the victor of Saturday's main event between Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier. Buckle up.
UFC debut scheduled
LightweightUFC
December 22, 2020
Chandler will make his UFC debut against Dan Hooker in a lightweight matchup at UFC 257 in Abu Dhabi on Jan. 23, Marcel Dorff of MMADNA.nl reports.
ANALYSIS
The 34-year-old will be making his first ever appearance under the UFC banner following a long career with Bellator. He'll be taking on one of the tougher opponents in the UFC's lightweight division, though Hooker is at least coming off a unanimous decision loss to Dustin Poirier in his most recent fight. Chandler went 9-2 over his last 11 fights before making the move. He'll enter as a betting underdog of approximately (+145), at least based on where the books listed him in early-January.
Not an option for RDA
LightweightUFC
November 9, 2020
Chandler will not be stepping in on short notice to face Rafael dos Anjos in the main event of UFC Fight Night 182 on Saturday, Brett Okamoto of ESPN reports.
ANALYSIS
Former lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos lost his opponent this weekend when Islam Makhachev was forced to withdraw due to a staph infection, and Chandler was RDA's first choice as a possible opponent. According to the report from Okamoto, however, the UFC has "other plans" for Chandler's immediate fighting future. Those plans presumably involve a ranked lightweight fighter, as opposed to someone like dos Anjos, who is unranked due to the fact he's returning to the division for the first time in four years. Whatever is next in store for Chandler, his next fight seems likely to affect the lightweight title picture.