Michael Chandler was seconds away from UFC gold, and despite now being ranked 5th in the lightweight division, the UFC star still believes he’s the best fighter at 155 pounds, and because of that, he tells TMZ Sports he deserves a title shot after he beats Tony Ferguson.
But, if he doesn’t get that … Michael’s got a Plan B — Conor McGregor!
“There’s not an MMA fan, combat sports fan, TMZ Sports fan, that doesn’t want to see me fight Charles Oliveira again or Justin Gaethje again,” Chandler says.
“And, if the UFC does have a momentary lapse of judgment and gives the title shot to someone else, Conor’s gotta beat somebody when he comes back to make himself into relevant status. So, Conor or some big fights. We’ll see!”
Of course, 36-year-old Chandler has lost two fights in a row … but that doesn’t nearly begin to tell the story.
At UFC 262 in May, Michael was on the verge of defeating Oliveira with the UFC belt on the line … dropping do Bronx with a left hook in the first round. Unfortunately for MC, Charles survived the last two minutes of the round.
Then, in the second, Oliveira hurt Chandler … and ultimately ended the fight via TKO from strikes.
You could argue Chandler was one punch from being the champ.
Then, MC squared off against Gaethje — now the #1 ranked contender — at UFC 269 in November 2021 … a fight that was guaranteed to be amazing.
The fight — one of the greatest ever — somehow surpassed expectations … and although most fans and experts declared no one the loser, Chandler’s record says different.
Two losses … against two beasts, in incredibly close fights. So, a title shot is certainly not out of the equation.
If that’s not the direction Dana Whiteand the UFC go, Michael’s down to welcome McGregor back to the Octagon.
Conor hasn’t fought since July 2021 when he snapped his leg againstDustin Poirierin their trilogy fight. Dana previously told us he expected “The Notorious” to make his Octagon return sometime toward the end of 2022.
Whether it’s McGregor or another top fighter, Michael tells us he still believes he’s destined for greatness … not to simply have come close.
“The number one weapon that you can have is not the X’s and the O’s and the punches and the kicks or the wrestling — it’s self-confidence. I believe in the calling on my life, I believe I got into this sport in 2009 not just to be good, but to be great, not to be great but to be extraordinary and do some extraordinary things. I think UFC gold is still very much in my future.”
First things first, Michael has to beat “El Cucuy” at UFC 274 Saturday night. Then, we’ll see … Gaethje? Oliveira? McGregor? Someone else?