One of the biggest storylines for the UFC that came outside the actual octagon in 2020 was the promotion’s signing of Michael Chandler (21-5). The former Bellator lightweight champion finished his contract back in August.
After he knocked out Benson Henderson, Chandler was the hottest free agent in MMA. All of the big promotion’s were throwing money at him, however, there was one place he knew he wanted to be at.
Despite the UFC not offering the most money, Chandler signed with the biggest MMA promotion in the world. For Michael Chandler, signing with the UFC was more about his legacy and the competition over the money.
Chandler has made it very clear that he wants to prove that he’s one of the very best in the world. He served at the backup at UFC 254 if Khabib Nurmagomedov or Justin Gaethje would have fallen out of the main event.
Chandler showed up and made weight despite not being officially booked for a fight. He wanted to get the feel of being in the UFC and he wanted to meet everyone behind the scenes to get a sense of what it’s like.
After initially struggling to get him a fight, the promotion has booked Chandler for his debut at UFC 257. Chandler will be taking on top lightweight contender, Dan Hooker (20-9), in the co-main event of the evening.
Will Chandler become a UFC champion?
Michael Chandler recently sat down with MMA On Point where he talked about his journey in getting to UFC 257. He made it clear that he believes he will prove he’s the best in the world saying, “I truly believe I’m going to be the UFC Lightweight Champion this year.”
Defeating Dan Hooker would be a great first step for the former Bellator champion. However, even beating Dan Hooker isn’t likely to net Chandler a title fight right away. More than likely, he will have to win twice to get that shot at the title.
Granted, starting in January is a great thing for Michael Chandler and the UFC. Chandler has a desire to be active in 2021 and if he’s going to be champion, he’s going to have to fight three times this year.
Michael Chandler does have the skills to become a champion in the UFC. However, it’s going to be far from easy, but that’s his prime motivation. Chandler’s addition made the best division in the promotion even more exciting in 2021.