Earlier this year, the UFC made headlines when they signed top lightweight, Michael Chandler (21-5). Chandler had been a Bellator champion on a number of occasions. He was always considered to be one of the best in the world.
However, with him fighting outside the UFC, there have always been questions on just how good he is. Chandler wanted to prove himself and see for himself just how good he is which is why he took a deal with the UFC.
He recently stated the the UFC was not offering him the most money. However, they provided the best competition which is what meant the most to Chandler. Originally, Chandler was supposed to make his debut at UFC 254 against either Tony Ferguson or Dustin Poirier.
The UFC tried to make a fight between Ferguson and Poirier, but after that fell through, they tried booking either against Chandler. A fight never materialized between Chandler and either of those top contenders.
Instead, Chandler still flew out to Fight Island, but as the backup for the UFC 254 main event. Chandler said it was his way of showing the UFC and the world that he is willing to take anything that they throw at him.
Recently, Chandler posted on Instagram that he was starting up his fight camp. He has aspirations to fight on the UFC 257 card which features the rematch between Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier. So, who is Chandler training for?
Chandler at UFC 257?
Based on Michael Chandler being in camp, the safe assumption is that the plan is for Chandler to fight in January. With that in mind, there are a couple of potential opponents for Chandler to face at UFC 257.
The front-runner in my opinion is Justin Gaethje (22-3). Gaethje is the top ranked lightweight in the UFC and the former interim champion. Gaethje said he needs to get a win before fighting for the title again, and Chandler needs an opponent.
Chandler has openly expressed his desire to fight Justin Gaethje. Another opportunity would be Dan Hooker (20-9). Hooker is currently ranked fifth in the division and he said that he wanted to send Chandler back to the B-Leagues.
The UFC could also turnaround either Tony Ferguson or Charles Oliveira if one of them wins without taking too much damage this weekend. No matter what, Chandler’s first opponent will be a top five lightweight. We should know sooner than later who that opponent is.