Scott Coker believes that MMA fans will get to witness a UFC vs. Bellator cross-promotional fight after all.
Fans have long fantasized about UFC athletes competing against Bellator’s or another major promotion’s stars in superfights and cross-promotional bouts. While Bellator has done this with RIZIN, there have never been any meaningful talks of a UFC/Bellator cross-promotional fight that the public is aware of despite Bellator President Scott Coker’s openness to the idea. This will all change at UFC 262 according to Coker.
Oliveira vs. Chandler More Like UFC vs. Bellator?
At UFC 262, a new UFC lightweight champion will be crowned when Charles Oliveira takes on Michael Chandler for the vacant title. Chandler is a UFC-contracted fighter, ranked #4 in the lightweight division, in fact. But as far as Scott Coker is concerned, he still represents Bellator MMA.
“Michael is home-grown here and he’s had a lot of fights,” Coker told MMA Junkie. “I’m not surprised at all because he was our world champ for a while until he was beat by ‘Pitbull.’ So to me, I always felt like if he’s going to go over there, I told him, ‘Hey, when you go over there, you’ve got to go get that belt. Go kick some ass, go beat up everybody, and get that title.’ Did I think he was going to do it in two fights? No.
“But you know what? I’m happy for him. He’s proven himself and it’s something that, to me, it’s going to be a Bellator vs. UFC fight. You have Michael who fights for the UFC, but he’s home-grown here. We’ve always known his talent, so when he knocks that kid out, or whoever he’s fighting, then he’s going to be the champ. ‘Pitbull’ will always have a claim (as the best in the world) because he beat Chandler.”
These comments echo comments what Patricio “Pitbull” Freire recently said about how Chandler’s early success in the UFC proves the strength of Bellator’s roster. Coker’s argument that a Chandler win would prove they have the best lightweight in the world, while contestable in many respects, does have some merit. After all, Pitbull’s victory over Chandler took place not too long ago by MMA standards (2019), and Pitbull is still a double-champion in Bellator, including in the lightweight division. Especially with Khabib now retired, there would be something to be said if Bellator’s lightweight champion holds a victory over the UFC’s lightweight champion.
In order for that to happen, Chandler must beat “that kid” who goes by the name of Charles Oliveira, the #3-ranked UFC lightweight veteran riding an impressive eight-fight win streak. And even still, there would be two guys by the names of Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor who would have something to say about the “best lightweight in the world” moniker being bestowed upon Chandler without going through the winner of their bout first.
Do you agree with Scott Coker? Would a Michael Chandler victory over Charles Oliveira prove that Patricio “Pitbull” Freire is the best active lightweight in the world?