The former lightweight champion has one fight left on his Bellator contract and the fighter plans on testing free agency after Bellator 244.
“I think I’m a guy who could go to [One Championship] and finish my trilogy with Eddie Alvarez,” Chandler said to ESPN. “Or imagine me fighting guys like [UFC lightweights] Justin Gaethje or Dustin Poirier, and putting on Fights of the Year. And I do think I’m the best guy to solve the puzzle of [UFC lightweight champion] Khabib Nurmagomedov.”
Chandler has spent almost a decade competing in Bellator MMA, picking up three lightweight championships and a 17-5-0 record in the promotion.
While Chandler would love to finish his career in Bellator MMA, one thing the fighter understands is that outside factors could keep that from happening.
“I would love nothing more than to finish my career and retire as a Bellator fighter, and I’ve told that to [Bellator president] Scott Coker,” Chandler said. “But the simple fact is they have a business to run with checks and balances, and I know my wife and son deserve to be taken care of, and I have a calling in life that might require me to go elsewhere. Bellator has taken care of me, and I’ve taken care of them. It’s been the perfect storm of a symbiotic relationship — them having an asset they were not willing to lose, and me being in a situation where the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.”
Bellator 244 takes place on Saturday, June 6 from the Wintrust Arena in Chicago, Illinois with Michael Chandler and Ben Henderson headlining. Fightful is providing live coverage of the event, which streams live on DAZN.