Since arriving in the Octagon last year, Chandler has grown into both a fan favorite and legitimate contender in the 155-pound division. In just three fights, the former three-time Bellator champion has fought for the title and been involved in a consensus Fight of the Year clash against Justin Gaethje in Madison Square Garden.
Despite now boasting a negative 1-2 record in the UFC, Chandler remains one of the top fighters at 155 pounds, and not many other stars will attract as much attention with their outings as he will in 2022. While he’s currently taking an extended break from the Octagon, he’s also not shied away from interacting with potential next opponents.
Chandler Adds New Name To His List Of Potential Opponents
As well as making his desire to face MMA’s biggest superstar Conor McGregor clear, the 35-year-old has suggested he’d be open to facing either Tony Ferguson or Dustin Poirier. However, he also has another name in mind, a fan-favorite Stockton star who could tempt him up a weight class.
During an appearance on Ariel Helwani’s The MMA Hour, Chandler suggested a potential matchup with Nate Diaz has been flying under the radar. Nevertheless, he believes that clash needs to happen while both men remain in the promotion.
“Nate Diaz, nobody’s ever talked about me and Nate Diaz fighting, but for some reason I’m like, ‘I feel like me and Nate Diaz should probably share the Octagon at some point.’ And obviously… I know his contract is coming to a close, he’s looking at fighting Poirier, that’s the fight he says he wants, but then he called the UFC and the UFC said, ‘Poirier sucks.’ [LAUGHS]. That tweet was genius.”
If the bout does come to fruition, Chandler has no doubts it would mark his debut at welterweight. Discussing whether that could signal a permanent move up to 170 pounds, Chandler admitted he’d like to avoid making the cut to 155 pounds unless it’s to fight for the title or to face McGregor.
“Yeah, we’ll throw Nate Diaz’s name in the hat. And I’d love to fight at 170 instead of 155, I’ll tell you that much. Definitely when I fight Diaz, it’s gonna be at 170, for sure. I’ve been competing in the 150s since I was a senior in high school… That 150-something is not very fun. Health-wise, it’s one of the things that makes it hard in this sport.
“When I got done with this last fight, I said I don’t want to make 155 unless it was Conor or for the title. Obviously I lost that fight, I’m not fighting for the title next, and Conor could be a long shot at this point… We’ll see what happens, I definitely don’t wanna make 155 but I’m a man of my word and I signed a contract at 155 pounds.”
It’s clear that Michael Chandler has a lot of options and a lot of ambitions in the UFC. And while he’s taking the necessary time to recover form his last fight, we can expect to see “Iron” back in a big fight, on a big card, and with big implications later this year.
Would you like to see Michael Chandler face Nate Diaz at welterweight?