Earlier, UFC President Dana White announced that the promotion has officially signed the former two-time Bellator Lightweight Champion Michael Chandler. White also stated that Chandler would serve as a back-up fighter for the much-anticipated showdown between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Justin Gaethje in a title unification bout for the UFC Lightweight Championship. In a presser succeeding the UFC Vegas 11, White stated that Chandler would go to Abu Dhabi, make weight, and undergo training for the potential showdown if so.
Ahead of the potential showdown which will likely only happen if either of the fighters has to pull out due to the coronavirus, Chandler dropped an intense training video.
Michael Chandler signs officially with the UFC
Michael Chandler was expected to take on Tony Ferguson after Dustin Poirier decided to withdraw from a potential Ferguson fight at UFC 254. Earlier, even Lightweight Champion Khabib Nurmagomedov had teased a potential showdown between Tony Ferguson and Dustin Poirier. However, Poirier cited negotiations disputes and said that the price needs to be right for him to go against Ferguson at UFC 254. Amidst all this, Dana White announced that the promotion is not looking to salvage the Ferguson vs Poirier fight, and is looking at a possible new opponent for El Cucuy.
It was indeed shocking to learn that the UFC decided to keep Michael Chandler as the potential replacement for Khabib vs Gaethje despite the incredible opportunity. With finally a chance at Tony Ferguson vs Khabib Nurmagomedov and an ideal rematch for Ferguson against Gaethje, UFC’s decision to hand Michael Chandler is definitely surprising.
Be that as it may, Michael Chandler is a credible fighter and his solid addition to the division only bring other interesting match-ups to the mix. Chandler is a world-class grappler but also relies on his solid knockout power to finish his opponents. With notable victories over Eddie Alvarez and Benson Henderson, Chandler has made a big name for himself in the MMA world despite never stepping foot inside the UFC octagon. It will be exciting to see him hail the UFC octagon ahead of his official signing.