Michael Chandler has yet to make his UFC debut, but he was the backup fighter for the UFC 254 main event between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Justin Gaethje.
The former Bellator lightweight champion would like to fight either Justin Gaethje and Tony Ferguson in his UFC debut.
“Tony Ferguson, Justin Gaethje would be number one and number two of the guys I want to fight,” Chandler said on the UFC Unfiltered podcast (via Jed Meshew of MMA Fighting). “I think it’s a great introductory fight to the UFC fans of who Michael Chandler is. They’re both great fights, they’re both guys who fight. As you guys have seen who watched my fights, guys who run away, that’s the best way to try to beat me is to try to run away from my pressure. Justin Gaethje, Tony Ferguson are going to meet me in the middle of the Octagon and we’re going to have a blast. So either of those guys sounds like a great fight.”
Gaethje just competed at UFC 254, but neither he nor Ferguson have a fight booked at the moment. Chandler says that if neither Gaethje nor Ferguson are available, then anybody in the lightweight division top five will do.
“I think if we do look at the past as a predictor of the future or right now, you look at Ben Askren, he drew Robbie Lawler right away,” Chandler said. “High profile fight, top-five guy. You look at Justin Gaethje coming over a couple [of] years ago from WSOF which, no shade towards them at the time or his track record, but my resume, some of the fights and wins I have, and Bellator as an organization, I think, is a step above where he came from, he also drew a top-five guy right away in Michael Johnson. So I don’t think I’m being entitled by coming in and saying I would like a top-five guy right away.”
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