Former Bellator lightweight champion Michael Chandler who is scheduled to make his UFC debut against Dan Hooker at UFC 257 has stated that he has had a lot of difficulties finding an opponent.
Speaking to TSN’s Aaron Bronsteter, Michael Chandler stated that Dan Hooker wasn’t his first choice of opponent as he isn’t ranked in the Top 5. However, none of the top fighters were willing to fight the former Bellator star.
“Obviously I wanted to fight, two, three, four, or five before I fought number six,” Michael Chandler said to TSN. “But, beggars can’t be choosers, Dan Hooker was the guy who said yes when everyone else said no. Here we go, January 23 we get a great opportunity, I’m excited about it.”
Michael Chandler: Except Conor McGregor, all top 5 turned down fight
While most of the top 5 ranked lightweight turned down the fight, the only exception was former UFC featherweight and lightweight champion Conor McGregor.
“Every single one of them in the top-five, besides Conor. They all, and rightfully so. These guys have cut their teeth in this organization,” Michael Chandler added. “These guys, everybody in the top-five have fought in the UFC’s lightweight division for five to ten years, these guys have put their time in, their blood, sweat, and tears. I realize I was an outsider, a newcomer, a darkhorse. I realize nobody wanted to really be the first guy who stepped into that Octagon with me, I completely get it.
“Dan Hooker was the guy who said yes and every other one of them said no for their own personal reasons,” Chandler said. “The good thing is I have a fight lined up, we have a contract signed. The biggest card of the year, the co-main event of UFC 257 isn’t a bad way to introduce yourself to the UFC fans.” (H/T – BJPenn.com)
UFC 257 Fight Card
155 lbs: Michael Chandler vs. Dan Hooker
125 lbs.: Joanne Calderwood vs. Jessica Eye
115 lbs.: Amanda Ribas vs. Marina Rodriguez
155 lbs.: Ottman Azaitar vs. Matt Frevola
185 lbs.: Antonio Carlos Junior vs. Brad Tavares
155 lbs.: Nasrat Haqparast vs. Arman Tsarukyan
205 lbs.: Marcin Prachnio vs. Khalil Rountree
135 lbs.: Sergey Morozov vs. Umar Nurmagomedov
145 lbs.: Shane Burgos vs. Hakeem Dawodu
135 lbs.: Sara McMann vs. Julianna Pena
185 lbs.: Makhmud Muradov vs. Andrew Sanchez