Home ANALYSIS What’s next for Michael Chandler?

What’s next for Michael Chandler?

Michael Chandler
Image Source: Twitter | Michael Chandler

The Fairy-tale Start

Champions from other promotions have always found it tough to leave an impact in the coveted UFC Octagon on their first outing. But that wasn’t the case for Iron Michael Chandler. The former three-time Bellator champion is off to a dream start in his UFC career, finishing (the then) #6 ranked UFC lightweight contender, Dan Hooker via a first-round TKO.

With a near-perfect performance, he capitalized on the mass audience for a co-main event spot on a Conor McGregor pay-per-view (UFC 257) by delivering one of the best post-fight interviews in recent history. He called out the champ Khabib, #1 ranked Dustin Poirier, and the ‘Notorious one’, Conor McGregor, putting the entire division on notice.

The state of the Lightweight Division

UFC’s 155-pound division is touted as one of the toughest divisions in all of the combat sports and rightfully so. Spearheaded by the current pound-for-pound #1 and the champion, Khabib Nurmagamedov, the division is filled with future Hall-of-Famers like Dustin Poirier, Conor McGregor, Justin Gaethje, Charles Olivera, to name a few.

But where does that leave the hottest prospect, Michael Chandler? With Khabib being semi-retired (more on that later), and Poirier vs McGregor 3 seems to be the direction in which the UFC wants to move forward, it leaves only Oliveira and Gaethje higher in the pecking order above Chandler.

While Gaethje’s last outing ended in him losing to Khabib in a championship bout, Oliveira on the other hand, extended his win streak to 8 by defeating the bogeyman of the division, Tony Fergusson via unanimous decision.

If I were to put on the matchmaker’s cap, I’d have Chandler fight Gaethje because stylistically that is the best fight to make. Chandler’s wrestling credentials are well known to the world but he showed his dominance in stand-up against Hooker. Gaethje has been in wars, has one of the best chins in the UFC, and is an NCAA Division I Wrestling champion himself.

This would be the toughest challenge for both the guys and will put the winner in the title conversation right away, if they’re not there already. It will certainly be interesting to see how the road to the title plays out in the coming months.

See you at the top!

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A Marketing & Brand Manager by profession, I find my inspiration through the world of sports.

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