Khabib Nurmagomedov will give Michael Chandler the next shot at the title if he beats Islam Makhachev at UFC 254, says Chael Sonnen. The former Bellator champion is weighing in for UFC 254 as a backup to either Khabib or Justin Gaethje if one of them falls out of the scheduled Lightweight title fight.
Khabib's cousin Islam Makhachev is without an opponent at UFC 254 after Rafael dos Anjos withdrew from the bout due to a positive COVID test. Khabib's team has called out Tony Ferguson as well.
Speaking on his podcast, Sonnen said
I got a phone call from Khabib. He’s never called me before. … He said, ‘there’s nobody I’m closer to than Islam. I’m telling you right now — if Michael Chandler beats Islam, I will view Michael Chandler the number one contender. I want you to get the message out.
Khabib Nurmagomedov urges Micheal Chandler to take Islam Makhachev fight
It might be tempting for Micheal Chandler to take the fight with Makhachev, especially as he is making weight as a backup for the fight between Khabib and Gaethje. The UFC has so far failed to provide Makhachev with an opponent after Dos Anjos fell out of the fight.
Makhachev is ranked No. 12 in the UFC Lightweight division and is potentially a risky fight for Chandler with the UFC seemingly ready to give him a top-5 opponent.
Makhachev last beat BJJ sensation Davi Ramos back in September 2019.
Rafael dos Anjos, who pulled out of the fight due to COVID, released the following statement:
I came to rescue my dream of becoming a champion again, and that goal was achieved. Sharing my experiences with the Nova Uniao team and learning many details to improve my game and close the gaps in the future, none of this was in vain. Unfortunately, I will not be able to compete on the 24th. COVID-19 caught me big time and the doctors cut me out. But soon I will be back victorious inside the Octagon! Nothing can take away the blessing that is upon us. God will provide.Published 15 Oct 2020, 16:26 IST