Over the weekend at UFC 262, Michael Chandler (22-6) took on Charles Oliveira (31-8, 1 NC) for the vacant lightweight title. After Khabib Nurmagomedov relinquished the title earlier this year officially, the lightweights crowned a new king on Saturday night.
Michael Chandler knocked the UFC door down when he made his debut back in January. Chandler knocked out Dan Hooker in the first round and announced to the world that he was ready for that UFC strap.
Charles Oliveira had won eight fights in a row leading up to UFC 262. Do Bronx had come into his own and he looked like one of the scariest lightweights in the world. On paper, this matchup was pure fireworks.
Well, the fight turned out to be pretty good as well. In the first round, Chandler rocked Oliveira early which forced and Oliveira takedown attempt. Chandler was able to lock in a guillotine, but Oliveira fought through it. The Jiu Jitsu expert was then able to get the back of Michael Chandler.
Eventually, Chandler exploded out of the position and they went back to striking. Chandler again hurt Oliveira badly and looked like he was seconds away from becoming the UFC lightweight champion.
However, Oliveira survived and used his legs to keep distance from Chandler’s big shots. The round closed with all the momentum with Chandler. However, moments into the second round, Oliveira landed a massive hook and follow up shots to win the fight and become UFC lightweight champion.
What’s next after UFC 262?
Saturday night showed just how quickly fights can change in the UFC. Michael Chandler had all the momentum and was seconds from finishing the fight in the first round. Seconds into the second round, Oliveira dropped him and stopped him to win the title.
This is a hard one for Michael Chandler because he was so close to realizing that dream. However, it’s important to remember that the UFC title dream is not dead for Michael Chandler. It perhaps just took a detour.
On this detour, who should the UFC pair him with? To me, there’s only one fight that makes sense for all involved. That would be pairing Michael Chandler against former interim champion Justin Gaethje (22-3).
Gaethje and Chandler are both coming off of losses in undisputed title fights. Both men are two of the very best in the world and whoever would win between the two would provide a great challenger for the UFC lightweight title.
Michael Chandler said he’s going to be back in the gym this week and I believe him. I think we could perhaps see a matchup between Gaethje and Chandler in the late Summer this year.