UFC’s Gaethje to Chandler: ‘There’s something about your face that just makes me want to punch you’

One of the most highly anticipated fights of the year is scheduled to go down at UFC 268. Two of the best lightweights in the world will battle it out as Michael Chandler (22-6) takes on Justin Gaethje (22-3).

Both men have incredibly similar styles and both love to stand and trade. In addition to having a similar fan-friendly fighting style, both men are also in a very similar spot in their career.

Chandler just lost a UFC lightweight title fight back in May to Charles Oliveira. The last time we saw Justin Gaethje fight was at UFC 254 when he lost a lightweight title fight to Khabib Nurmagomedov.

Both men are coming off title losses, but they still rank at the very top of the division. While they have paid some compliments to each other in the past, there is some underlying beef between the two UFC lightweights.

It all started with Chandler stating on an Instagram Live that Gaethje turned down a fight with him several times. Gaethje fired back at Chandler and said that he was slandering his name. This was all prior to the UFC finalizing the fight between the two.

UFC 268 In Flux

Today at the UFC weight in show, Justin Gaethje appeared as a guest. Michael Chandler was one of the hosts along with Daniel Cormier and several other personalities from the promotion.

Gaethje stated in the interview that he doesn’t have much of a reason to dislike Chandler, but he just does. The former interim UFC champion said to Chandler, “It’s been a while since I fought someone I didn’t like… There’s something about your face that just makes me want to punch you… It’s the smirk.”

This got a big smile out of Chandler. Chandler has seemed incredibly excited since this fight got announced. Chandler has stated that the one guy that he wants to fight more than anyone is Justin Gaethje.

Now, there was an interesting statement from Gaethje in today’s interview. Gaethje openly said that he didn’t think his fight with Chandler will take place in New York City and he was hoping that it doesn’t.

Couple this with Michael Chandler saying he’s not going to get vaccinated and it’s starting to look like UFC 268 is going to change. New York City issued a vaccine mandate and that could jeopardize the event.

Dana White has said this week that he has spoken to Madison Square Garden and there’s no issue. However, my guess is that the UFC is already planning on either moving this fight or moving their PPV to a new location. I would imagine that the promotion would like to keep Gaethje – Chandler on PPV so it will be interesting to find out where it takes place.

Vaccine mandates in NYC could alter the plans for UFC 268

UFC, Dana White

UFC 268 is supposed to be a massive event for the promotion. The promotion is targeting a return to Madison Square Garden for the event and they are bringing incredible fights to New York for that event.

Headlining UFC 268 is the rematch between Kamaru Usman (19-1) and Colby Covington (16-2). In addition, UFC 268 will play host to the return of Luke Rockhold as he takes on Sean Strickland. 

However, arguably the most anticipated matchup that’s been announced is the co-main event. The UFC has booked Michael Chandler (22-6) against Justin Gaethje (22-3). This is a dream fight for most fans and were supposed to see it in November.

However, a new mandate in New York City might jeopardize that fight. Michael Chandler had an Instagram Live session yesterday (from MMA Junkie) where he was very open and honest about the fact that he will not be vaccinated come the November.

Chandler said that he was not anti-vax and that he would consider taking the vaccine once it’s FDA approved. I can assure you that Chandler is not the only fighter in the UFC who is not vaccinated and I guarantee he’s not the only one on the card that won’t be.

New York City announced new mandates that requires vaccination proof to do just about anything indoors. With this new mandate coming down, the UFC 268 location might be in jeopardy.

UFC 268 Backup Plans

Dana White has always said that the UFC will never force their athletes to do anything. In regards to forcing vaccinations, White said to TSN, “I would never tell another human being what to do with their body. If you want to get vaccinated, that’s up to you. That’s your choice. You’re never going to hear me say I’m going to force people to get vaccinated. Never gonna happen.”

I can guarantee White isn’t going to change his position and I guarantee the UFC fighters who don’t want the vaccine will not get it. That said, this card is in a lot of trouble in terms of the location.

It’s worth noting that the location has not been announced for UFC 268. While it’s widely known that it’s supposed to take place at MSG, the promotion hasn’t officially announced anything yet.

Dana White has been operating through the fluid waters of this pandemic for well over a year. The UFC knows how to deal with situations like this and I can assure you that they’re already working on a new location. This will definitely be something to watch over the coming weeks.

UFC books Justin Gaethje – Michael Chandler

One of the most highly anticipated lightweight matchups has been officially booked. ESPN’s Brett Okamoto was the first to report that the UFC has finalized a lightweight contest between Justin Gaethje (22-3) and Michael Chandler (22-6).

The fight is taking place at UFC 268 on November 6th. While it’s not official, the location for UFC 268 is supposed to be Madison Square Garden. The rematch between Kamaru Usman and Colby Covington will headline the UFC 268 card. Chandler and Gaethje are expected to be the co-main event.

The UFC has been trying to book this fight for a while and it’s finally being booked. Michael Chandler was the big free agent signing for the UFC last year after his stint with Bellator. Chandler made his debut back in January and scored a first round knockout over Dan Hooker.

Following that win, Chandler got a shot at the vacant UFC lightweight title against Charles Oliveira. After a dominant first round, Chandler was stopped in the second round. Chandler took a little time off after the loss, but he’s ready to get back at it and the only fight he wanted was Justin Gaethje.

UFC return for Gaethje

This will actually be the first fight for Justin Gaethje since UFC 254 last October. Heading into that fight against Khabib Nurmagomedov, Gaethje was the interim lightweight champion. Gaethje was submitted in the second round by Nurmagomedov.

Since then, Gaethje has been taking some time off as he planned his next fight. Originally, the promotion was looking at having Gaethje and Chandler fight at UFC 262 for the vacant lightweight title. However, the promotion shifted gears and gave the shot to Oliveira who went on to capture the lightweight title.

Prior to his loss to Nurmagomedov, Gaethje had won four straight fights all by stoppage. This fight will seemingly line up with the title fight between Dustin Poirier and Charles Oliveira which is being targeted for the end of the year. The winner of this fight at UFC 268 will be the next in line for a title shot.

UFC: Justin Gaethje fires back at Michael Chandler

We seem to have a little bit of bad blood forming in the UFC‘s lightweight division. Earlier this week, top contender and former title challenger Michael Chandler (22-6) took to Instagram Live where he talked about what’s next for him.

Chandler last fought at UFC 262 when he came up short against Charles Oliveira for the lightweight title. The former Bellator lightweight champion said that he’s targeting a return in either November or December of this year.

Chandler said that without a doubt the guy that he wants to fight is former interim UFC lightweight champion Justin Gaethje (22-3). Gaethje is ranked second in the division and he last fought at UFC 254 when he lost to Khabib Nurmagomedov.

Chandler said that Gaethje has been ducking him and refuses to accept the fight. He went on to say that the UFC has offered the fight to Gaethje three or four times and Gaethje has refused to take the fight.

However, Gaethje has since responded on Twitter. Let’s just say that ‘The Highlight’ wasn’t too thrilled with Chandler’s comments and he made it very clear that he hasn’t been ducking Chandler at all.

Will the UFC make this fight happen?

I will agree with Michael Chandler when he says that the fight between him and Justin Gaethje is the fight to make. There is no questioning the fact that this is the fight that the UFC should make next.

Both men are coming off of losses in UFC title fights and both are ranked at the very top of the division. Not too mention the fact that stylistically, this is about as good as it gets when pairing any two lightweights against each other in terms of excitement.

Chandler and Gaethje would be fireworks and I think the UFC knows it. Dana White has mentioned that this is the fight that he wants to make and I think it happens. Whether it’s a Fight Night headliner or a co-main on a PPV, I’m expecting to see Chandler – Gaethje by the end of the year.

UFC: Michael Chandler hopes to return near the end of the year

Michael Chandler (22-6) is still dealing with the disappointment from failing to capture the UFC lightweight title last Saturday. In the headliner of UFC 262, Chandler took on Charles Oliveira (31-8, 1 NC) for the vacant lightweight championship.

The first round of their fight at UFC 262 was one of the best opening rounds of a championship fight I’ve seen in a while. It had it all and both men looked like they could finish the fight in the first round.

For Oliveira, he was able to get Chandler’s back in the first have of the round. A lot of people thought that if Oliveira could get in that dominant of a position at UFC 262, he could finish the fight by submission.

In fact, I picked Oliveira to win by submission. However, Chandler powered through and got out of the dangerous position. The second half of the round was all Michael Chandler and he hurt Oliveira badly on the feet.

At one point, it appeared that the fight was seconds away from getting stopped. Chandler had the UFC lightweight title within his reach, but Oliveira was able to survive the onslaught and we went to the second round.

Much like the first round changed on a dime, the second round changed on a dime. After coming close to finishing the fight in the first round, Chandler was clipped with a perfect left hook from Charles Oliveira.

Oliveira followed up with some finishing shots and captured the UFC lightweight title. For a moment in the first, Michael Chandler’s perfect UFC start appeared to be going according to plan. However, he left the door open and Charles Oliveira took advantage.

UFC return for Michael Chandler

Michael Chandler sat down with MMA on Point this week to break down UFC 262 and talk about his next steps. Chandler admittedly thought he wouldn’t be in a position to consider his options following a loss.

The former Bellator champion said that he planned on winning the UFC title and wanted to wait for the winner of Dustin Poirier – Conor McGregor 3. If that would’ve happened, Chandler said he thought the UFC would book him anywhere from November to January of 2022.

Despite losing at UFC 262, Chandler is wanting to stick to that timeline. Chandler said, “November at the earliest. December, maybe even January. I’m not getting any younger… Obviously, the stakes are high, the competition is high. No matter what, I’ll step inside the cage with a top five guy.”

Opponents to watch for in his UFC return would be Justin Gaethje, Beneil Dariush, Rafael Dos Anjos, or perhaps Islam Makhachev. The loser of McGregor – Poirier could also be an option. As Chandler said, the UFC will give him a top five guy next regardless and if he wins impressively, he’ll be right back in the title mix.

After capturing the lightweight title at UFC 262, what’s next for Charles Oliveira?

In the main event of UFC 262, we saw a new lightweight champion crowned. Charles Oliveira (31-8, 1 NC) and Michael Chandler (22-6) went head-to-head for the vacant UFC lightweight champion.

Last year at UFC 254, Khabib Nurmagomedov (29-0) said that he was walking away from the sport. The undisputed lightweight champion lost his father last year and after his last successful title defense, he decided it was time to hang it up.

After Khabib retired, the UFC‘s lightweight division needed a new champion. After Dana White confirmed Khabib’s UFC departure a couple of months ago, the promotion booked Oliveira and Chandler for the vacant title.

Charles Oliveira’s UFC story has been something to behold. At one point, Oliveira was 10-8 with the promotion and looked like one of those fighters who would never truly reach his potential.

He bounced back and forth between lightweight and featherweight before ultimately settling at 155 pounds. A few years ago, Do Bronx started to put it all together and he won eight fights in a row leading up to UFC 262.

Michael Chandler was the prized free agent signing for the promotion in 2020. The former Bellator champion made his debut in January and had a first round knockout win over Dan Hooker.

The fight was close on paper and it was close in reality. In the first round at UFC 262, Michael Chandler was moments away from finishing the fight in the first. However, Oliveira weathered the storm and ultimately came back to win by TKO in the second round. In a lot of ways, Saturday’s main event mirrored Do Bronx’s UFC journey.

What’s next after UFC 262?

So, after his big knockout victory, what’s next for the new UFC lightweight champion. Well, for that answer, we are going to look at the PPV that is coming up on July 10th.

UFC 264 is being headlined by the trilogy matchup between Dustin Poirier (27-6, 1 NC) and Conor McGregor (22-5). The two men fought back in January with Poirier evening the score by finishing McGregor in the second round.

The Diamond is the top ranked lightweight in the UFC and honestly should’ve been the one fighting Oliveira on Saturday. However, Poirier took the trilogy fight with McGregor over the title fight which is the better business decision.

McGregor is still the biggest star in the sport and he’s the biggest fight out there. With a win over Poirier, McGregor would jump straight to the front of the line to fight for the title.

Dana White wouldn’t confirm it on Saturday, but the winner of the UFC 264 main event should be next. It would be the biggest fight for the new champion and that’s what he deserves.

After falling short at UFC 262, what’s next for Michael Chandler?

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.

UFC 262 Results: Charles Oliveira stops Michael Chandler to become lightweight champion

In the main event of UFC 262, we crowned a new lightweight champion of the world. “Iron” Michael Chandler (22-5) was getting a shot at the vacant lightweight championship against Charles “Do Bronx” Oliveira (30-8, 1 NC).

Michael Chandler has been one of the best lightweights in the world for years. However, with him fighting in Bellator, many people didn’t take him seriously. That all changed back at UFC 257 in January.

After signing with the UFC last year, Chandler took on Dan Hooker in the co-main event of UFC 257. Chandler knocked out Dan Hooker in the first round to make a massive statement to the rest of the lightweights.

Between his knockout performance and his willingness to fight anyone, the UFC gave him this shot tonight. Standing in his way was the hottest fighter in the lightweight division, Charles Oliveira.

Do Bronx has really grown up inside the octagon. He made his UFC debut back when the promotion still had shows on Fuel TV which is no longer a television network. Oliveira began his career at featherweight.

After having some ups and downs at 145, Oliveira came into his own at lightweight. Now, Oliveira has won eight straight in the UFC‘s toughest division and the promotion gave him this title shot on the heels of his dominant win over former interim champion Tony Ferguson.

UFC 262 Recap

Round 1

The UFC 262 main event starts with a touch of the gloves. Two big kicks from Oliveira starts the striking. Chandler throws a big right to the body and Oliveira lands another big calf kick.

Big left hook lands for Michael Chandler and Oliveira shoots for a takedown. Chandler has a guillotine and it looks deep, but Oliveira stays relaxed and gets out of it. Oliveira ends up getting the back of Michael Chandler.

Chandler gets up and tries a back slam, but Oliveira sticks to him like glue. Oliveira is bleeding, but he’s got the body triangle locked in. Chandler explodes out of the position and Chandler is back on his feet.

Big shots from the top from Michael Chandler. Oliveira is up and they’re back to striking. Huge hooks land for Chandler and Oliveira is in deep trouble. Chandler tries to finish, but he lands in the guard of Oliveira.

Oliveira is trying to attack off his back, but Chandler is too strong early. Big elbows from Michael Chandler. More big shots from Michael Chandler land with seconds left in the round. The bell sounds and a huge opening round at UFC 262 for Michael Chandler.

Round 2

Entering the second round at UFC 262 and all the momentum is with Michael Chandler. Big jab lands for Michael Chandler but Charles Oliveira lands a massive hook and Chandler is hurt badly.

Oliveira follows up and Chandler is out. Charles Oliveira turns it around in an instance and he’s the new UFC lightweight champion.

Charles Oliveira def. Michael Chandler by TKO – Round 2

UFC 262 Preview: Michael Chandler – Charles Oliveira

Tomorrow night in the headliner of UFC 262, the vacant lightweight title is on the line. Former Bellator lightweight champion Michael Chandler (22-5) is seeking to add a second world title to his resume against Charles “Do Bronx” Oliveira (30-8, 1 NC).

In 2020, the biggest free agent in MMA was Michael Chandler. Chandler finished out his Bellator career with a first round knockout over former UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson. After the win, the bidding war started.

Ultimately, Chandler signed with the UFC because he wanted to show he’s the best in the world. At UFC 257, Chandler made his debut against Dan Hooker. After closing as a betting underdog, Chandler knocked out Dan Hooker in the first round.

The performance earned him a spot in the main event tomorrow night. Standing across the cage from him is the hottest lightweight in the UFC. Charles Oliveira will walk into the fight tomorrow night carrying an eight-fight win streak.

For Oliveira, his issue was never his talent. Oliveira always had the talent to be a UFC champion, but he just never put everything together. In December of 2017, Paul Felder stopped Oliveira at UFC 218.

After that fight, something changed in Oliveira. He turned into a different fighter and the winning streak started. The highlights of the win streak include victories over Kevin Lee and Tony Ferguson. Do Bronx is looking to add Michael Chandler and a UFC title to that winning streak tomorrow night.

UFC 262 Prediction

This is such a fascinating matchup and I can really see both guys winning at UFC 262. When it comes to the totality of striking, I would have to give the technical advantage on the feet to Charles Oliveira.

However, when it comes to explosion and power on the feet, the advantage goes to Michael Chandler. Obviously, Michael Chandler is one of the best wrestlers in the lightweight division. However, Oliveira is the best jiu jitsu practitioner in the lightweight division.

Both of these men cancel each other out in ways which is why the fight at UFC 262 is so hard to predict. If this fight ends up being a war, I really like the championship experience and grit that Michael Chandler will bring.

If this fight goes to really deep waters, I like Michael Chandler. If this fight ends in a first round knockout, I also like Michael Chandler. However, my gut just tells me that Do Bronx gets it done at UFC 262. Chandler’s never been submitted, but I think that might change tomorrow night.

Prediction: Charles Oliveira by Submission (Guillotine Choke) – Round 3

UFC: Conor McGregor wants at least two more fights in 2021

Conor McGregor, UFC

The biggest star in the UFC is wanting to make the walk at least a couple more times before the calendar turns over to 2022. Conor McGregor (22-5) is currently scheduled to face Dustin Poirier (27-6, 1 NC) in July at UFC 264.

That matchup will be the third installment of the rivalry between the two men. McGregor won the first matchup back at UFC 178 and then Poirier evened the score with a TKO victory in January at UFC 257.

Both men wanted to do the trilogy and that’s what were getting next. However, McGregor has made it known that he has bigger plans beyond the Poirier trilogy. McGregor had a fun question and answer on Twitter yesterday with his fans.

One of the questions that was asked was around his fighting plans for the rest of the year. When asked how many times he wanted to compete, the former two-division UFC champion said, “2 at least.”

Another question came in regarding his plans for those fights. To that, McGregor said, “I’ll have a few Proper Parties! It’s my birthday that week. Then the World title.” Make no mistake about it, Conor McGregor has his eyes on the UFC lightweight title.

Can McGregor regain the UFC lightweight title?

If you would have asked me a year ago about McGregor’s chances to recapture the UFC title, I wouldn’t be very confident. I’m in the group that believes Conor McGregor is sensational, however, I’m not sure he’s taking the belt of Khabib Nurmagomedov (29-0).

However, with Nurmagomedov out of the picture, it’s a different story. At UFC 262 this weekend, Michael Chandler (22-5) and Charles Oliveira (30-8, 1 NC) will battle for the vacant UFC lightweight title.

The winner of that matchup will likely face the winner of McGregor – Poirier 3 in the fall. With that, the path is quite clear for Conor McGregor to once again become the lightweight champion.

However, it’s a very steep ask. I’m not sure you can put McGregor as the favorite after his last fight with Poirier. If he is able to get passed The Diamond, then he’s got a tough matchup with Michael Chandler and Charles Oliveira.

Very different and difficult fights for McGregor. The odds are currently stacked against him, but McGregor’s proved the UFC nay-sayers wrong before. He just might do it again and walk out of 2021 the lightweight champion of the world.