The UFC is currently working on booking one of the most anticipated matchups of 2021. Per ESPN’s Ariel Helwani, the promotion is currently working towards booking a lightweight showdown between Justin Gaethje (22-3) and Michael Chandler (22-5).
As of now, the word is that the UFC is tentatively targeting for this matchup to be in the early summer. This is a fight that fans have been anxious to see. It’s also a fight that makes perfect sense given the landscape of the lightweight division.
Michael Chandler made his highly anticipated debut at UFC 257. Chandler got a co-main event slot opposite Dan Hooker on the Conor McGregor -Dustin Poirier 2 card. When the stage was the biggest, Michael Chandler showed out.
Chandler closed as the betting underdog, but he stormed out of the gate and knocked out Dan Hooker in the first round. With that performance, he put all of the UFC lightweights on notice.
Chandler has said that he wants to become the UFC‘s lightweight champion in 2021. He said he knows that it will require more wins and one of the guys he really wanted to face was the former interim lightweight champion, Justin Gaethje.
UFC title eliminator?
Back at UFC 254, Justin Gaethje got his shot against Khabib Nurmagomedov for the undisputed title. Like 28 men before him, Gaethje fell short in his attempt to dethrone The Eagle. After the fight was over, Gaethje said he’d need another win before a title shot.
After all the fights at UFC 257, Gaethje said that he’d be down to fight the “cringey” Michael Chandler. It now appears that he’s going to get that chance. Prior to the loss to Khabib back in October, Justin Gaethje had been on quite the roll in the lightweight division.
Gaethje had four straight knockouts over Tony Ferguson, Donald Cerrone, Edson Barboza, and James Vick to earn his interim title. Michael Chandler and Justin Gaethje are two finishers and two of the most exciting lightweights in the UFC. Whenever this fight takes place, it should be fireworks.