When the UFC very first signed previous Bellator lightweight winner Michael Chandler, the quick hope was a struggle with Tony Ferguson. That didn’t come about, but Chandler at last has his UFC debut booked.
Chandler will make his promotional debut opposite Dan Hooker at UFC 257: Poirier vs. McGregor 2 on Jan. 23 on Combat Island in Abu Dhabi. He feels it is the major stage doable for him to make an fast splash in the UFC.
As described, it wasn’t System A… or even System B.
The UFC inked Chandler and experienced meant for him to fight Ferguson on the undercard of UFC 254, which was headlined by light-weight winner Khabib Nurmagomedov and interim titleholder Justin Gaethje.
With all of the probable for COVID-19 and other challenges to probably upset the marquee match-up, Chandler and Ferguson would also serve as a back-up in scenario either Khabib or Gaethje was knocked out of the most important party.
When the battle with Ferguson under no circumstances materialized, Chandler finished up with no a bout, but continue to traveled to Abu Dhabi, built excess weight, and was all set to be the sole fighter to step in. As it turned out, his services proved avoidable at UFC 254.
Having created the bodyweight lower, Chandler necessary a bit of time for his body to recuperate, and for an opponent to signal on the dotted line.
That opponent has last but not least materialized in the type of Hooker, who was not Chandler’s first decision for his UFC debut, but not due to the fact he assumed Hooker was a person to overlook.
“Here’s what I would say, Dan Hooker was not essentially on the radar, on the maximum rung on the radar, mostly mainly because of the pecking order of the UFC’s rankings,” Chandler informed ESPN’s Brett Okamoto lately.
“Obviously, when I come in, the UFC needed to give me a exam suitable away, throwing close to names like like (Dustin) Poirier, like Ferguson, like Gaethje, like (Charles) Oliveira men who are 1, 2, 3, 4 in the division. Obviously, apart from Khabib (Nurmagomedov), simply because he’s semi-retired proper now, we’re not positive what he’s doing however, but these ended up the names that we have been speaking about, these are the names that the UFC was making an attempt to get me booked from, so it was not that Dan Hooker wasn’t a formidable opponent.”
In reality, Chandler sees Hooker as a person of the far more hazardous opponents for him in the Octagon.
“Truthfully, he might be 1 of the saltiest, nastiest, toughest challenges both physically and with his characteristics inside of of the Octagon than any of them. I assume I match up improved with Poirier than I do Hooker. I assume I match up far better with Gaethje then Hooker. I feel I match up superior with Tony Ferguson than Hooker,” mentioned Chandler.
“At the conclude of it all, I signed with the UFC to get to the prime. In order to get to the top rated, I have to get a fight. I have to get within the UFC Octagon. It is been a rollercoaster of emotion to get this battle booked.”
Though it has taken Chandler quite a few months to get a fight booked, he is additional than completely ready to make his shift into the top rated of the UFC light-weight division. He’s also far more than content to do it on the shell out-for every-perspective battle card that also characteristics Conor McGregor’s return to the limelight.
“(UFC 257) Conor McGregor vs. Dustin Poirier… the greatest card of the yr. It is heading to be the biggest stage I could have maybe fought on, Dan Hooker it is, so let us go.”
Dana White on why Michael Chandler and Tony Ferguson did not battle in December
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