Michael "Iron" Chandler is the current #5 UFC Lightweight fighter with a professional MMA record of 23-wins and 7-losses. Chandler is a 3-time Bellator Lightweight Champion and a former NCAA Division-1 All-American wrestler.
Michael Chandler started his Combat sports journey as a wrestler in high school, where he was a runner-up at the MSHSAA State Championship.
During college, Chandler became a 4-time NCAA Division 1 qualifier. He was a runner-up twice at the Big 12 Championships and amassed a record of 100-40 before graduating.
Michael started training in MMA in 2008 and made his professional MMA debut in 2009 at First Blood against Kyle Swadley. After this, he signed up with Strikeforce. Chandler went 2-0 at Strikeforce and left the promotion in 2010 to join Bellator FC.
Michael made his Bellator debut at Bellator 31 against Scott Stapp. He defeated Stapp in the first round via TKO and then defeated Chris Page at Bellator 32 via first-round submission(guillotine choke). After this victory, Chandler entered the Bellator Season 4 Lightweight Tournament. Chandler defeated Marcin Held in the quarterfinals via first-round technical submission.
He faced Lloyd Woodard in the semi-final at Bellator 40. Michael defeated Lloyd via unanimous decision to face Patricky Freire in the finals at Bellator 44. Chandler dominated Freire to win the tournament and get a title shot at the Bellator Lightweight Championship against Eddie Alvarez.
Michael fought Alvarez at Bellator 58. He won the back-and-forth encounter in the fourth round via rear-naked choke submission to become the Bellator Lightweight Champion. Chandler then fought Akihiro Gono at Bellator 67 in a non-title fight. Michael defeated Gono inside the first minute via TKO(punches). He went on to defend his title twice before rematching Eddie Alvarez at Bellator 106 for the championship. This time Chandler lost the close encounter via split decision.
After this, Chandler was scheduled to rematch Alvarez in a trilogy fight at Bellator 120. However, Alvarez pulled out of the fight due to an injury and, Chandler instead fought Will Brooks for the Interim Bellator Lightweight Championship. Chandler lost the fight via split decision.
Michael rematched Will Brooks for the Vacant Bellator Lightweight Championship as Eddie Alvarez had left Bellator. Chandler again lost to Brooks but, this time via TKO(punches) in the fourth round.
Michael bounced back from the losses by defeating Derek Campos at Bellator 138 via first-round submission(rear-naked choke). In 2016, Chandler fought again for the Bellator Lightweight Championship against Patricky Freire due to the championship being vacated by Will Brooks.
Michael defeated Freire inside the first round via KO(punch) to become a 2-time Bellator Lightweight Champion. Chandler successfully defended his title against Benson Henderson via split decision but lost the title in his next defense against Brent Primus. Primus defeated Chandler in the first round via TKO(doctor stoppage).
Michael bounced back from the loss by returning to action at Bellator 192 against Goiti Yamauchi. He defeated Yamauchi via unanimous decision and then defeated Brandon Girtz at Bellator 197 via first-round technical submission. After these victories, he got a rematch title shot against Brent Primus at Bellator 212. Chandler dominated Primus this time and won the fight via unanimous decision to become a 3-time Bellator Lightweight Champion.
He lost the championship in his first title defense against Patricio Freire at Bellator 221 in 61-seconds via TKO (punches). Michael then won his next 2-fights against Sidney Outlaw and Benson Henderson.
Chandler left the promotion to join the UFC and signed with them in September 2020.
credit: Bellator MMA
Michael Chandler made his UFC debut at UFC 257 against Dan Hooker. Chandler oppressed Hooker's aggression and knocked him out in the first round via a left hook followed by aggressive ground-and-pound head punches. Due to this commanding victory, he was awarded a title shot at the vacant UFC Lightweight Championship against Charles Oliveira at UFC 262. Chandler outgunned Oliveira in the first round but was unable to finish him off. Instead, it was Oliveira who knocked out Chandler in 19 seconds of the second round.
Following this defeat, Chandler fought Justin Gaethje at UFC 268. The fight was a slugfest that went against Chandler as he lost the fight via unanimous decision.
Michael Chandler fought Charles Oliveira at UFC 262 for the vacant UFC Lightweight Championship. The fight started with Oliveira almost knocking down Chandler with a leg kick. Chandler recovered from this and bounced back as he landed a left hook and locked in a guillotine on Oliveria, though Oliveria managed to get his head out and got control of Michael's back.
To counter this, Chandler stood up with Oliveira on his back and landed a slam though that backfired as the slam allowed Charles to have a tighter grip on Chandler. Michael did not allow Oliveira to utilize his BJJ experience as he started hand-fighting him and was able to get back on his feet.
Later in the round, Chandler rocked Oliveira with a big left and started connecting with heavy grounded punches. However, Oliveria was able to survive this situation for over 2 minutes to go to round 2.
Oliveira connected with a left hand at the beginning of the second round and dropped Chandler. He followed it up with strikes along the fence before dropping Chandler again with a big left to end the fight in 19-seconds via TKO.
At UFC 274 Michael Chandler went toe-to-toe with the lightweight legend 'El Cucuy' Tony Ferguson. The two men got right to it and began trading a series of hard hits and setting the pace for an exciting first round.
However, just as the excitement was building up for some more action, Michael Chandler shocked the world by landing a devastating front kick, and knocked out Ferguson at just 17 seconds of round two.
Michael Chandler's current MMA record stands at 23-7. He is currently on a 1-fight winning streak.
Michael Chandler's last fight was against Tony Ferguson at UFC 274. Chandler won the fight via KO (front kick).
Below is the professional MMA record of Michael Chandler: