The 34-year-old former Bellator champion Michael Chandler entered the octagon last Saturday in Abu Dhabi and became the first man to stop Dan Hooker, putting him away in the first round of their fight at UFC257.
Chandler knocked out Dan Hooker in brutal fashion in the co-main event of UFC 257. When it comes to making an impression in your UFC debut, it can’t get any better than what Chandler did. It sure looked like Chandler was going to be the star of the night, but Poirier went and outdid him with a crazy KO over Conor McGregor in the main event. Chandler and Poirier were both rewarded with $50,000 bonuses for their victories, and both men may next fight each other for the vacant title.
The former three-time Bellator lightweight champion signed with the UFC last year and made his promotional debut to much fanfare against Dan Hooker on Saturday. Going into the fight, much was made of the jump in competition between Bellator and the UFC, and even Chandler himself called Hooker one of his toughest matchups in the organization, one he took because Hooker was the only top guy who would even agree to fight him.
But when the cage door closed on Saturday, he made quick work of Hooker, knocking him out halfway through the first round. Afterwards, Michael jumped on the microphone and cut a promo on the two main event fighters and current lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Michael Chandler after his first UFC win
Speaking to TMZ Sports following UFC 257, Chandler said that his goal is to become the UFC champion, and right now, Poirier is the man in his way. That’s why Chandler wanted to send a message to his rival and let him know that he’s waiting for him. And if and when they do fight, he says, he’s going to knock Poirier out.
“I think you see very similar shades of myself and Dan Hooker. I’m going to put Poirier on his back foot. I’m going to push him up against the fence. He’s going to be fighting off of his back foot. He’s not going to ever engage me. He’s not going to ever put pressure on me or put me against the cage where he is most dangerous. And I’m going to throw punches in bunches. He’s going to be very surprised with my power, I think I finish him within the first two rounds,” he said.
Poirier finished Conor McGregor two rounds faster than Khabib managed at UFC 229, closing the show with a blistering salvo of punches to hand the Irishman the first loss of his career from strikes. Notably, his first-round tactic of looking to wrestle with McGregor was exactly what Nurmagomedov told White that Poirier should do to win the fight.
Now it seems like it’s time for the UFC to move on from the “will-he-or-won’t-he” situation with Nurmagomedov and book Poirier and Chandler to face off for the vacant title this summer, in front of fans, on “Fight Island.”
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