Michael Chandler On UFC 254 Backup Role: “Throw Me In There With The Wolves”

Former Bellator lightweight champion Michael Chandler wants no easy fights in the UFC.

Chandler recently inked a deal with the UFC and will serve as the backup fighter for the UFC lightweight title fight between Khabib Nurmagomedov and champion Justin Gaethje at UFC 254. Chandler could very well be fighting for a title in his UFC debut and he would have it no other way.

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“I told the UFC, ‘Listen, I’m not here for a long time – I’m here for a good time,” Chandler told TMZ Sports (via Farah Hannoun of MMA Junkie). “I want to jump right into that top five right away. Either I am who I say I am, or I’m not. Sink or swim. Throw me in there with the wolves and let’s see where I come out.”

Whenever Chandler does make his promotional debut, it would mark his first fight outside of Bellator in over a decade. The former Bellator lightweight champion is excited for a potential shot at the UFC lightweight title.

“I fought August 7, so that’s an 11-week turnaround,” Chandler said. “Not a lot of guys would take a fight on an 11-week turnaround, especially with a new organization. But for me, I’ve always been active. The day after my fight, I got right back to the gym. I wanted to be ready for this opportunity if there was an opportunity in October or November. But I just heard about that very, very recently, and I’m excited about the opportunity. I know I’m going to be ready to step into that cage Oct. 24 and beat either Khabib or Gaethje if something goes awry.”

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 ESPB+ pay-per-view.

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