Michael Chandler is set to face Charles Oliviera in the main event at UFC 262. The former Bellator lightweight champion will make a bid for the vacant UFC lightweight title in his second outing with the promotion. Chandler knocked out Dan Hooker in spectacular fashion in his promotional debut at UFC 257.
As "Iron" Mike advances towards his bid for the lightweight crown, not much is known about his origins. In an interview with SB Nation, Michael Chandler gave fans an insight into his early life and family. Acknowledging his parents' contribution, Chandler said-
"I can sit here and tell you that I’m world champion because of the hours that I’ve put in and the sacrifices that I have made. But if I didn’t wake up every single morning knowing that my mom and dad outworked me every single day then I wouldn’t be where I am today." Michael Chandler said. "My dad was the hardest working man I know. The home that I grew up in, in High Ridge Missouri, my dad built it with his bare hands. But my mom was really kind of the glue that held us all together."
Michael Chandler started his journey as a wrestler
Being one of three brothers in the family, Michael Chandler was introduced to wrestling early in life. While it might have been hard for a five-year-old kid, wrestling eventually brought out the best in Chandler. Speaking about his first match in high school, Chandler said-
"When I was five years old, my dad got me into wrestling. I don’t know, it was hard on me. I think wrestling is such a hard sport for young-young children. My first match in high school was on a varsity and I went out there and I won. It kind of gave me that confidence. That you just won a varsity and you are only a freshman. Let’s see what you can do."
Crediting fellow fighters for his shift into MMA, Michael Chandler said-
"Luckily for me I had two guys that I wrestled with, Ben Askren and Tyron Woodley. Both come out ahead of me, wrestled at Missouri (University), graduated and then started fighting. Those two guys are like my big brothers. So I figured I would give it a try and have not looked back since."