Michael Chandler


Gets title shot at UFC 262
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.
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.
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Legendary effort in UFC debut
January 23, 2021
Chandler defeated Dan Hooker via TKO (punches) at 2:30 of Round 1 at UFC 257 on Saturday in Abu Dhabi.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
Makes championship weight
October 23, 2020
Chandler successfully weighed in at 155 pounds, serving as an alternate for the main event at UFC 254, MMAjunkie.com reports.
It's a tough ask for a fighter to make championship weight without a fight officially locked in, but that's exactly what Chandler -- a recent addition to the UFC roster -- has done. As a former Bellator Lightweight Champion, the UFC seems to think highly of his ability and will presumably schedule him in a high-profile fight in the near future. It doesn't appear as if that will happen Saturday, however, as both Khabib Nurmagomedov and Justin Gaethje successfully weighed in for the Saturday afternoon title fight.
Backup for Khabib vs. Gaethje
September 17, 2020
Chandler has been signed by the UFC and will serve as the backup for the Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Justin Gaethje lightweight bout at UFC 254 on October 24, Brett Okamoto of ESPN reports.
Chandler is a veteran and former champion under the Bellator banner, and has won five of his last six fights overall. At 34 years old, he will now get a chance on the UFC roster in the lightweight division. We will learn more about whether he will be needed for a massive bout scheduled at UFC 254 in late-October as the date approaches. Rumors had been floating around of a prospective matchup against Tony Ferguson after a bout against Dustin Poirier fell through, but it appears Dana White and co. are fine using Chandler in a reserve capacity for the time being.