While a pair of title fights will head Saturday’s pay-per-view slate in Phoenix, Arizona, one blockbuster collision of entertaining veterans is threatening to steal the show. Setting the table for Rose Namajunas and Charles Oliveira’s title defenses will be a matchup pitting Chandler against fan favorite Tony Ferguson.
With both men riding losing skids and in danger of falling further behind the elites at 155 pounds, this contest is set to be crucial for the careers of “Iron” and “El Cucuy.”
But despite being another setback away from a three-fight losing skid and a 1-3 record in the UFC, Chandler believes he’s as close as one victory away from another shot at staking his claim on the lightweight throne.
Chandler: Who’s Not Gonna Wanna See Me Go 5 Rounds With Gaethje?
During a UFC 274 media day interview with ESPN MMA’s Brett Okamoto, Chandler discussed what he’s expecting for his future should he dispatch Ferguson inside the Footprint Center this weekend.
Despite the lengthy winning streaks amassed by top fives Beneil Dariush and Islam Makhachev, whose likely fight later this year is seen by many as a title eliminator, the former three-time Bellator champ believes there isn’t a single fan who would argue against him challenging the victor of Saturday’s main event, especially if ‘and new’ is read out.
“I do think there’s gonna be a very large, explosive fight for me this fall, this winter. Whether it’s Conor (McGregor), whether it’s for the title,” claimed Chandler. “There’s not an MMA fan on the planet who watches ESPN MMA that doesn’t want to see me fight Charles Oliveira again or Justin Gaethje again, especially Justin Gaethje. In a five-round title fight, are you kidding me? Everybody wants to see that.
“This sport is all left up to time and circumstance. It would be the right time for me again, obviously,” added Chandler. “And the circumstances would be right, people wanna see me rematch those guys.”
With that in mind, as well as his own success, Chandler is rooting for the most recent of his former opponents to have his hand raised this weekend. If all goes to plan, “Iron” is expecting to boast number one contender status by next week.
“My money’s on Justin Gaethje, which, one again, solidifies me as the number one contender to fight him next by the end of the year,” concluded Chandler.
According to our very own staff predictions for UFC 274, Chandler may struggle to leave Arizona with both of his desired results…
Do you think Michael Chandler vs. Justin Gaethje 2 will be the fight to make should both men emerge victorious this weekend?