Chandler and Gaethje threw bombs from start to finish over three rounds, with both fighters dealing significant damage. After 15 minutes of action, Gaethje earned the unanimous decision win.
Gaethje and Chandler would each earn ‘Fight of the Year’ awards for their efforts at UFC 268. Both men also received performance bonuses following the event.
But Chandler’s loss to Gaethje might’ve stung more than most realized.
During a recent interview with Ariel Helwani, Chandler spoke about how long it took to fully recover from the bloodbath with Gaethje.
“It took a while. I mean, we had a lot of soft tissue damage,” Chandler said. “Obviously, the face is always the most telling, but the face healed up pretty quick… Really just soft tissue damage. Obviously there’s no doubt I took a lot of leg kicks. So, my left leg was pretty beat up. My right foot, from the leg kicks that I landed on Justin Gaethje, my right foot/right ankle is still a little bit creaky when I wake up in the morning. But I mean, it was probably six weeks, total, to where I felt like I was able to train at 100% again.”
Michael Chandler Is Turning His Attention To 2022 Opponents
Chandler is still in the process of working his way back to the Octagon in 2022, including possible fights with Conor McGregor, Tony Ferguson, and Nate Diaz. Chandler and McGregor have gone back-and-forth in lighthearted banter on social media in recent months. It is the Ferguson bout, however, that is currently in the works as confirmed by UFC President Dana White.
Despite the loss to Gaethje, Chandler arguably won more than he lost following the bout. He earned the respect and name recognition of the UFC fanbase in just his third fight with the promotion following a long tenure in Bellator.
How do you think Michael Chandler’s 2022 run will look?