Michael Chandler believes you do not need to look far back into the UFC’s history of business practices to see why he is receiving a title shot in only his second fight in the promotion.
Two weeks ago during the UFC Vegas 25 broadcast, Michael Bisping asked if there was anyone who would have received a title shot as quickly as Jiří Procházka if Procházka receives a title shot in only his third UFC fight. Paul Felder could be heard making an utterance that sounded like a “Yeah,” without any elaboration. Felder may have been thinking about Brock Lesnar, who received a world title shot in only his third UFC fight as well. But topping both Lesnar and the potential Procházka scenario is Michael Chandler, who will be competing for the UFC lightweight championship in only his second UFC fight this Saturday at UFC 262.
Michael Chandler made a resounding promotional debut at UFC 257 when he finished Dan Hooker via first-round KO. And just like that, he finds himself in a PPV headliner for UFC gold following the retirement of Khabib Nurmagomedov. At UFC 262 this Saturday, Chandler will look to join Eddie Alvarez as the only fighters to capture both the UFC and Bellator lightweight straps in spite of coming under heavy criticism, including from fellow fighters, for being granted a shot so early.
As far as Chandler is concerned, there is a very simple explanation for why he is receiving a title shot so soon after joining the UFC.
“The people that say yes, the people that are willing to step up, the people that are willing to put the work in and raise their hand when everybody else is covering their heads up, those people are usually rewarded for it and the UFC has done right by me so far,” Chandler told MMA Fighting. “It’s been a pleasure to be signed by the UFC. It’s been a pleasure since day one and I imagine it’s going to be even more of a pleasure after I get that UFC title strapped around my waist.”
With Khabib Nurmagomedov retired, the UFC had to finally act in crowning a new champion after putting it off for months trying to persuade the Eagle to return to the UFC nest. The available names ranked above Chandler coming off wins were Dustin Poirier and Charles Oliveira. As it has been previously reported, Poirier opted to fight McGregor in a trilogy fight, which left only Oliveira, whom Chandler will be facing this Saturday.
So between Chandler’s “yes” mentality and the uncertainty surrounding where Justin Gaethje fits into the current lightweight equation, the final decision of a Chandler/Oliveira vacant title fight seems logical to the All American.
“I have been a guy that’s said yes a lot when a lot of guys have said no,” Chandler said. “Pretty much everybody in the top five has said no to a fight against me except for Dan Hooker and I tip my hat and commend him for taking that fight Jan. 23. He’s a heck of a competitor, I know he’ll be back but I was glad to get the knockout that night.
“With Conor [McGregor] and [Dustin] Poirier doing their trilogy, we weren’t really sure where Justin Gaethje stood. I think it makes a lot of sense. Charles Oliveira as a competitor, he’s as tough as they come.”
Do you have any objections to Michael Chandler fighting for the UFC title in only his second fight in the promotion?