Michael Chandler finally has his first UFC booked, and it will be against none other than Dan Hooker at UFC 257. Hooker is ranked #6 in the UFC’s lightweight division and is a stiff test for any fighter, but Chandler preferred to face Tony Ferguson and embrace the challenge of facing a competitor who Chandler believes has proven to be the biggest nightmare for the lightweight division.
“I wanted to fight Tony Ferguson,” said Chandler in a recent ESPN interview. “Tony Ferguson was my No. 1 choice because I thought he was the scariest guy in the division. The boogeyman.”
Michael Chandler Criticizes Tony Ferguson’s Management
Michael Chandler wanted the fight against Ferguson, and all signs and reports indicate that the UFC wanted the fight as well, so Michael Chandler knows where to pin the blame for the fight not taking place: Tony Ferguson’s management team.
“I will never judge someone’s management or someone’s decisions,” said Chandler. “Like I said, we are all extremely busy. We got stuff going on inside the Octagon and outside the Octagon. We’re fathers, we’re sons, we’re businessmen. We’re doing all kinds of other stuff, especially when you get into that upper echelon of us top guys in each weight division.
“But, the Tony Ferguson situation was definitely mismanaged. I mean we had the opportunity for him and I to step inside the cage in January, inside the Octagon on this card, [and] Tony says no. Then he takes a relatively short-notice fight against Oliveira after calling me out and I say no. I needed three weeks, four weeks off after this nine-month long training camp that I did. So, my opinion of him doesn’t change. It’s just unfortunate.”
Tony Ferguson would lose that short-notice fight to Charles Oliveira in quite the lopsided fashion at UFC 256, making it the first two-fight losing streak of his career. As for Michael Chandler, we will find out in a couple weeks if his long-anticipated UFC debut will be a success, even if it comes against an opponent who was not his first choice.
Who do you think made more sense to be Michael Chandler’s opponent for his UFC debut: Tony Ferguson or Dan Hooker?