Former Bellator Champion Michael Chandler has his eyes set on the #1 UFC Lightweight contender, Justin Gaethje.
Gaethje recently went up against the 155-pound Champion Khabib Nurmagomedov in the main event of UFC 254, but failed to capture the title. He was submitted by 'The Eagle' in Round 2 with a triangle choke.
Following the victory, Khabib surprised everyone by announcing his retirement, citing his father and trainer Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov's recent demise as the reason behind his decision. He left his fighting gloves in the center of the Octagon in a heartfelt gesture.
Michael Chandler wants to fight Justin Gaethje for the vacant UFC Lightweight title
If Khabib really bids adieu to UFC, the Lightweight title which he currently holds will become vacant for the top contenders to fight over. Michael Chandler, who was the backup option for the 155-pound Championship bout at UFC 254, is definitely among them.
Michael Chandler told The Schmo that he wants to fight 'The Highlight' Justin Gaethje for the title.
Gaethje will be ready to fight in six to eight weeks after his last outing against Khabib, by his own admission post-fight, and Michael Chandler claims he will be ready to take on him in that time as well.
"There’s a lot of different options right now. I think with the way the landscape looked - you had Gaethje and Khabib with Khabib as the lightweight champion after tonight - I was thinking Tony Ferguson. But now you’ve got Jon Anik and Justin Gaethje talking after the fight. Gaethje is a gamer. Justin Gaethje is one of the greatest competitors that we will ever get to see grace the octagon . . . (and) he said he’s ready in six to eight weeks, he’s ready to fight again. He didn’t take that much damage in this fight which is great. I’m ready in six to eight weeks, he’s ready in six to eight weeks, there’s a Tony Ferguson fight, there is The Ultimate Fighter coming up, I know that’s gonna be a big debut for ESPN. Culminating in a lightweight title shot seems like nonstop action for ESPN so I would love to be a part of that as well. So we’ll see what happens." (H/t MMA Fighting)
Michael Chandler added that he would pick a fight with Gaethje over any other competitor in the division, even Conor McGregor or Khabib himself.
Even though those will be high grossing, big fights, he claimed fighting Gaethje means something else for him.
"Those are all wonderful but when it comes to just straight competitor versus competitor, hand to hand combat, mano a mano, small-town blue-collar American wrestler versus small-town American blue-collar wrestler, that’s me and Justin Gaethje stepping into the cage against each other, so that’s exciting to me."Published 27 Oct 2020, 20:38 IST