Despite certain mumblings in the MMA community on whether Chandler deserves a title shot having fought just once under the UFC banner, UFC president Dana White was adamant on why he believes Chandler deserves the shot.
“Yeah, I was just talking about him earlier,” White told TSN. “When we were getting ready to sign him, I was literally sitting on the runway getting ready to take off. And my lawyer called me and said, ‘We’re on the one yard line with this kid and whatever. Will you just get on the phone and talk to him.’ I talked to him for five minutes, the nicest kid in the world, great attitude, wanted nothing more than to be in the UFC and fight for a UFC world title. I called Hunter back and I said, ‘I don’t care what he wants. Get it done. Give him whatever he wants, sign this kid, I love him.”
In August 2020, Chandler tested free agency after fighting under the Bellator promotion for 10 years where he was essentially the Bellator poster boy as he became a three time Bellator lightweight champion in that time. Since officially joining the UFC roster in September, Chandler’s UFC career has skyrocketed as he destroyed, top five lightweight at the time, Dan Hooker in the first round back at UFC 257 in January.
With the win over Hooker, Chandler now finds himself fighting for UFC gold to prove everyone that he has always been the best lightweight in the world which he believes he has earned for being willing to show up when others did not.
White expressed that Chandler’s ‘willing’ attitude throughout his UFC tenure, which involved cutting weight and being a potential backup for UFC 254, is the reason why the man from Nashville, Tennessee is fighting for the UFC world title.
“Comes in, willing to fight anybody, willing to go anywhere and do anything, will be the backup, will do this, will do that…that type of attitude and the type of fight that he fought against Hooker got him to where he is right now,” said White.
What are your thoughts on Michael Chandler fighting for the vacant UFC lightweight title at UFC 262 this Saturday? Do you think he is deserving of the shot?