Kevin Lee is suspicious about Michael Chandler's position in UFC.
It was revealed earlier this week by UFC President Dana White that the promotion has inked a deal with former Bellator lightweight champion Michael Chandler. Lee thinks the promotion has ulterior motives signing Chandler.
Lee believes that White made Chandler the UFC 254 main event backup fighter because if he were to lose to either Khabib Nurmagomedov or Justin Gaethje at the event, it would give White additional ammo to crap on Bellator.
“I expected them to sign Chandler. It seemed like he was getting over Bellator and he’s a competitor, so he probably actually wanted to really test himself,” Lee said on MMA On Sirius XM (via Farah Hannoun of MMA Junkie). “But the fact that they’re trying to make him the backup for Gaethje-Khabib, I don’t really get that. I think that’s just a way for them to try and (expletive) on Bellator. ‘It’s OK: Let’s throw him in there with Khabib right out of the gate so Khabib would whoop his ass, and now, and now I can (expletive) on (Bellator president) Scott Coker just a little bit more and make him look a little bit worse.'”
Chandler doesn’t have an official fight yet booked with the UFC, but whenever it does happen, it would mark Chandler’s first bout outside of Bellator in over a decade. The UFC star says that Chandler would have a better shot at beating Gaethje over Nurmagomedov.
“Against Gaethje he might stand a chance. But against Khabib, he’s just way too small,” Lee said. “I think Chandler is way too small for this whole division. I actually hope he gets to fight and once he loses, then it might be me and him in the middle of next year. You never know how things are going to play out. I’ve been looking at Chandler for a long-ass time. That’s going to be a good fight.”
UFC 254 takes place on Saturday, October 24 from Fight Island in Yas Island, Abu Dhabi with Khabib Nurmagomedov and Justin Gaethje headlining. Fightful is providing live coverage of the event, which streams live on ESPN+ pay-per-view.