Monday, December 5, 2022

Michael Chandler Says Gaethje Has Declined Fight Three-Four Times

#4-ranked UFC lightweight Michael Chandler claims that Justin Gaethje is doing backflips to avoid fighting him.

Both Michael Chandler and Dana White are on the record stating that they would love for Chandler’s next fight to be against Justin Gaethje. With Chandler looking to earn a second crack at the world title in the near future, a win against the #2-ranked Gaethje might just be enough to give the former Bellator champ another crack at UFC gold. That, plus the major fan appeal this bout holds stylistically makes this pairing a hard idea for Chandler to loosen his iron grip on despite distractions from the likes of Islam Makhachev (h/t MMA Fighting).

“Gaethje should be next. There’s no doubt about it,” Chandler said on an Instagram live chat. “There is no secret [Makhachev] and Gaethje both share the same management, so obviously that management would want to say, ‘Hey, throw Islam on the trail. Throw Islam on the Chandler trail so that it takes the heat off of Gaethje.’”

After laying bare his conspiracy theory, Chandler would then address his desired opponent directly.

“But Justin Gaethje: Come on, bro. You call yourself a fighter, and you are — you’re one of the most exciting guys in mixed martial arts. Be prepared to make a highlight or be made a highlight, because that’s what I am. That’s what I’m ready to do.”

Chandler’s direct address to Gaethje comes across as a last resort, which falls in line with the Missouri native’s claim that the fight has already been rejected multiple times by his countryman.

“I’ll tell you what, I’ve said Justin Gaethje’s name no less than 100 times since I’ve signed with the organization,” Chandler said. “He’s been asked to fight me three or four different times. Every time he’s declined. He and I are ranked two spots away from each other. He has not fought since last October. He needs to get a fight in if he thinks he’s going to fight for the title. For some reason, him and his camp have no interest in fighting me.”

Who do you think Michael Chandler should fight next: A) Justin Gaethje, B) Islam Makhachev, or C) Other?