After coming so tantalizingly close to claiming the UFC lightweight championship before being dropped by Charles Oliveira, Michael Chandler is already looking forward to a future clash with Justin Gaethje.
Chandler was more than happy to share his thoughts with MMA Fighting when asked about the possible/inevitable showdown between him and Gaethje.
“I think Gaethje-Chandler is probably the biggest fan favorite fight on the entire planet right now,” Chandler said. “I think he becomes a part of my highlight reel or I become a part of his highlight reel and both of us come forward and enjoy a good old fashioned, passionate scrap. That’s how he’s wired. That’s how I’m wired.
Justin Gaethje, the #2 ranked lightweight in UFC, would seem to agree. He already revealed in March of this year that he was under the impression that he was on deck to fight Chandler on May 15 and had actually begun training for the doomed contest before learning of the #4-ranked Chandler’s title opportunity. Fortunately for Gaethje, even though it didn’t materialize this time, Chandler says a fight with his fellow former UFC title challenger has been something he’s been interested in pursuing since joining the promotion.
“Justin Gaethje been on the tips of the UFC’s tongue, our tongue, myself and my management, since we signed with the UFC. It just hasn’t worked out that way for numerous different reasons.”
While he didn’t go so far as to call out Dana White’s name to request that the potential matchup be semi-booked as a replacement bout for the upcoming trilogy showdown between Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier at UFC 264, Chandler knows that the fans will be highly motivated to witness the showdown when it does eventually occur.
“All I know, the top five in the UFC is aplenty when it comes to talent and that’s a fight that I would welcome. It’s just got to make sense on the timeline and I tell you what, people will be chomping at the bit to see that fight.”
A five-round main event between Chandler and Gaethje would likely be viewed as a dream match by many MMA enthusiasts. Both were dominant champions in their previous promotions and had earned large amounts of exposure and loyal fanbases before either had ever stepped foot inside the UFC’s Octagon. It would also be a bout that happened on time, as both men are still in their primes and have retained their top-5 status.
Despite each coming off of defeats, any potential contest between the two would almost certainly have title implications and set up even more massive opportunities for the winner in the very near future.