Michael Chandler would love to fight for the world title again in 2021 and can even see it possibly happening as soon as his very next fight.
One of the biggest talking points heading into UFC 262 was whether or not Michael Chandler deserved a world title shot in his second UFC fight. The term “Dana White privilege” was even coined by Tony Ferguson to commemorate the occasion. After Chandler lost to Charles Oliveira in the lightweight title bout, that brought his UFC record to 1-1, and some assumed Chandler would now have to face a much lengthier path to the title the next time around.
The former Bellator lightweight champion doesn’t think it will necessarily be that way. In fact, it doesn’t appear as though that’s what he’s expecting.
“There’s a case to be out there, and I’ve seen a lot of people say maybe an immediate rematch. There’s a case to be made that I have one fight and beat any other guys in the top five, and I’m right there. I do believe I’m a big player at this point,” Chandler told MMA Junkie. “I do believe I’m world-class. I do believe I’m just as good as any of these guys. I do believe that Charles Oliveira beats anybody else in the top five. You look him against (Dustin) Poirier, you look at him against Conor (McGregor), you look at him against (Justin) Gaethje. I mean that’s a tough test for anybody, so losing to Charles Oliveira doesn’t make me a guy that shouldn’t be fighting for a world title anytime soon.”
Michael Chandler even believes that we could be seeing Oliveira vs. Chandler 2 as early as his very next fight.
“At this point, I don’t put any limits on what could happen. Immediate rematch could be a possibility, who knows? One fight could be a possibility, and then I’m fighting for the world title again by first quarter of next year. I’m not putting limits on anything. Obviously I have a limited time period. I’m not going to be here for a ton longer, so I want to get that title shot again before the end of next year. Either way, I’m willing to cut my teeth. I’m willing to re-build.”
Chandler receiving an immediate rematch with a 1-1 UFC record after being finished by the champion in his previous bout would cause the cries of “Dana White privilege” to range far, wide, and loud. The odds of that happening seem slim given that a Poirier/McGregor trilogy is coming soon this July, with the winner widely expected to be next in line for a title shot. If Chandler were to be granted an immediate rematch, it would likely be due in part to some serendipity working in his favor, such as injuries or availability complications.
That said, Chandler did say he’s willing to “cut his teeth” and “rebuild,” so perhaps he would agree to take on any and all comers, and these comments could just be Chandler trying to speak scenarios into existence that would see him earn another title shot in 2021.
As it stands, Chandler is ranked #4, so from a rankings standpoint, a fight against a top-5 opponent would make sense. So while an immediate rematch might be a tad unrealistic, it may not be long before Chandler finds himself right back in the Octagon vying for UFC gold.