The fight to determine a new king at 155 pounds comes just after UFC President Dana White announced that Khabib Nurmagomedov was officially retired and he would not pursue a potential comeback to the cage. That means the UFC needed to crown a new champion, and the promotion wasted no time finding two candidates willing to fill that slot.
For Chandler, the opportunity comes just one fight into his UFC career after he inked a lucrative deal with the promotion following a long career spent with Bellator MMA where he was a multi-time lightweight champion. Chandler made an immediate impact in his debut, demolishing Dan Hooker in the first round at UFC 257 in January.
As for Oliveira, the former featherweight-turned-lightweight will look to build on his current eight-fight winning streak when he faces Chandler in May. The Brazilian initially declined a non-title fight against Chandler earlier this year, citing insufficient training time. Oliveira has run roughshod over his competition in the past eight fights, including a lopsided decision victory over former interim champion Tony Ferguson in his most recent outing.
Michael Chandler talks about his first title defense if he wins
Michael Chandler will get the chance to win UFC gold in just his second fight for the promotion when he faces Charles Oliveira in the main event of UFC 262 on May 15 and then he hopes to make his first title defense against Conor McGregor before the end of the year.
“I think it’s Conor,” said Chandler, when asked how his 2021 campaign will close out. “I think there are a few little things Conor can do to win [the trilogy against Dustin Poirier]. So, I think it’s Conor McGregor, later this fall or winter. That’s probably wishful thinking, and if it’s Dustin Poirier, I’m excited about that opportunity as well.
“We’ll see. If I put my money on it, I think it’s Conor. I think he makes small adjustments, gets the win in the trilogy. That’s what I believe.”
If McGregor does beat Poirier in the trilogy, there is no question he would get a title shot. It would be a massive fight and having the Irishman as UFC champion does big business for the UFC. Chandler vs. McGregor would also be a very fun stylistic fight and the lead-up would be full of trash talk.
It was also revealed recently that Dustin Poirier was the first man to get offered a chance to fight for the vacant strap but ultimately declined in an attempt to get a third McGregor bout. It’s a smart move by Poirier because not only he’ll secure himself another big payday with a win over McGregor, but he also gets the title fight right after that.
Purchase the UFC merch here.
To bet on an MMA event click here