Saturday, April 10, 2021

Kevin Lee: Michael Chandler Is Not A Top Contender At Lightweight

Kevin Lee is giving credit to Michael Chandler as an opportunist but not so much as an elite fighter in the UFC’s lightweight division.

Michael Chandler’s UFC debut could not have gone better. After establishing his name as a champion and top competitor at Bellator for years, Chandler finally made the move to the UFC at the start of 2021 and under the bright lights of a Conor McGregor event. Chandler made the most of the moment by knocking out Dan Hooker in the co-main event and ramming himself through the lightweight rankings all the way up to #4 to mark his arrival. 

Kevin Lee Praises Chandler for Debut, Not His Skills

The entire division took notice of Chandler’s debut, including Kevin Lee, who is currently recovering from an ACL injury. Lee can’t help but tip his hat to Chandler for all aspects of his debut, but that doesn’t mean he thinks Chandler is worthy of top-contender status.

“One thing I learned from the Chandler fight is timing is fucking everything,” Lee began in an interview with MMA Junkie. “He made the right debut at the right time against the right guy, and he’s reaping the benefits of it. So I can’t hate on that.

UFC 257 results: Michael Chandler demolishes Dan Hooker in first round,  declares himself the new lightweight king - MMA Fighting
Michael Chandler Knocks Out Dan Hooker At UFC 257. Credit: Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

“Do I think he’s really a top contender? No. He’s old, he’s small, and he fought a guy that really fought him the worst way that you could: was backing up the whole time. I think Dan Hooker didn’t really show up that night.”

Kevin Lee went on to state that he was licking his chops at the idea of fighting Chandler, who Lee seems to believe would be an easy fight. Meanwhile, Chandler is expecting his next fight to either be for the world title or a #1-contender bout. 

Kevin Lee last competed against Charles Oliveira, one of the names Chandler has listed as a potential next opponent. Lee lost to Oliveira via submission and is currently ranked #12 in the lightweight division.

Who do you think is the better fighter right now: Kevin Lee or Michael Chandler?