At UFC 257, the final two men to have their hands raised were Michael Chandler and Dustin Poirier. Both men cashed in as underdogs with emphatic finishes of their opponents with millions of fans viewing live at home. Dana White is not usually one to make fights the night of the fight, but at the UFC 257 post-fight press conference, he did say that a fight between Dustin Poirier and Michael Chandler for the lightweight championship would make sense if Khabib officially vacates the title.
Dustin Poirier adamantly disagreed with White, though, stating that he would rather sell hot sauce than face Michael Chandler for the title due to his belief that Chandler had not yet earned the opportunity. Michael Chandler heard Dustin Poirier’s comments and had a mouthful to say in response.
“It was a little disheartening,” Chandler said to ESPN about Poirier’s comments. “Here’s what I would say, and I say this in the most respectful way possible. But this whole ‘earning it’ thing, ‘The kid hasn’t earned it; Chandler hasn’t earned it. Michael hasn’t earned it…’
“It’s like, listen, man, yeah, I’m new to the UFC, but I’m not new to this sport,” Chandler continued. “I’m going on 30 fights here in the next couple fights. I’ve got 27 fights of hand-to-hand combat, mano y mano, one on one, under the unified rules of mixed martial arts. Maybe it wasn’t in an Octagon. Maybe it wasn’t in the same cage that you have fought in 20-something times, but I’ve done it. And I’ve done it with some of the best of them.”
Michael Chandler Makes Bold & Direct Prediction
Michael Chandler would point out that some of the names on his résumé include former UFC champions and other proven names in the sport and that he has been a perennial top-10 or top-15 lightweight in the world for the better part of his career. Chandler concedes that he is new to the UFC, but he feels he has enough experience in the game for such dismissive rhetoric not to be used on him.
“Don’t use the phrase ‘hasn’t earned it’ around me,” Chandler demanded. “Now I just came into your organization, I just came into the top 5, kicked down the door, knocked out a guy in two and a half minutes that you couldn’t finish in 25 minutes, and I think I cemented myself as a top guy. Have I earned it in the UFC yet? No. But if that’s the case, I’m not going to earn it in the UFC to his standards for the next 10 fights. The guy’s got 26 fights in the UFC. At what point do I earn it?”
Michael Chandler would wrap up his response with a very direct final message for not only Dustin Poirier but every fighter in the UFC lightweight division.
“Whether you think I earned it or not is irrelevant,” Chandler asserted. “I’m going to win the world title here in 2021.”
What are your thoughts on Michael Chandler’s response to Dustin Poirier?