UFC president, Dana White has confirmed the promotion has held talks with recent Bellator free-agent, Michael Chandler – with rumblings suggesting the former three-time lightweight champion could finally ink a deal to sign with the UFC.
Michael, who announced his intentions to test free-agency recently, scored a second career victory over former WEC and UFC lightweight champion, ‘Smooth’ BensonHenderson at Bellator 243 at the beginning of August – finishing the MMA Lab mainstay with a first-round knockout. The victory marked Chandler’s second straight success.
The Missouri native has been linked with a move to the UFC for countless years at this stage, even during his most recent reigns at Bellator lightweight best back in 2016 and 2018.
Speaking at last night’s post-fight press conference following UFC Fight Night Vegas 10 – the above mentioned, White confirmed the promotion has had discussions with Chandler, explaining his appreciation for the wrestler as well.
The media then asked about a guy who could be an interesting matchup for Ferguson, and that’s Michael Chandler (21-5). White commented on if the UFC has talked with the free agent. “Yeah, we’ve talked to Chandler. I like the kid, so we’ll see,” White said of Michael.
White said if they brought Chandler in, they would have to see what would be available for his UFC debut, but a fight with Ferguson wasn’t dismissed. In fact, that’s a fight that would make a lot of sense.
Chandler vs Ferguson?
Michael has said that if he joins the UFC, he wants to go right into the top five. There’s no one better to test yourself against than Tony Ferguson. While UFC fans might be sad Poirier – Ferguson isn’t happening, Chandler – Ferguson would be a very nice match replacement. White was asked if Chandler could possibly draft in for his Octagon debut opposite somebody like Ferguson at UFC 254.
“Yeah, I dunno, we’d have to see timing and see what’s available,” White said. “It’s more than just, ‘Oh is he gonna fight the number one, number two, or number three guy’. It’s all about timing.“
News of the promotion’s preliminary talks with Michael follows a recent video posted by the 34-year-old’s Sanford MMA teammate and upcoming welterweight title challenger, Gilbert ‘Durinho’ Burns. The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt took to his official Twitter account recently, posting a video of anti-doping agency, USADA at the pair’s camp, with Burns hinting at the presence of Chandler and USADA representatives in the same building.
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