Michael Chandler is ready for his first UFC title shot against Charles Oliveira after having dominated in Bellator for years. Although this is only his second fight in the organization, Chandler is fighting for the undisputed lightweight title. It may not seem quick when you look at the body of work that Chandler has accomplished over his career, but some think he should have been tested more before receiving a shot at the belt. Dana White is very high on Chandler and has been since the moment he signed him to the organization. He gave his reason why Chandler is getting a shot on just his second walk to the Octagon.
“Comes in, willing to fight anybody, willing to go anywhere and do anything, will be the backup, will do this, will do that. That type of attitude and the type of fight that he fought against Hooker got him to where he is right now,” White said in an interview with TSN.
Both Michael Chandler and Charles Oliveira are getting this opportunity because former champion Khabib Nurmagomedov decided to retire. This absence left an opening for some new blood at the top of the division. Oliveira has been fighting his way to the top for over ten years now, and yet still may have not been the first choice for this shot. If Nurmagomedov had come back for one more fight it still could have been Chandler to get the call.
“When we were getting ready to sign him, I was literally sitting on the runway getting ready to take off,” White explained. “And my lawyer called me and said, ‘We’re on the one-yard line with this kid and whatever. Will you just get on the phone and talk to him.’ I talked to him for five minutes, the nicest kid in the world, great attitude, wanted nothing more than to be in the UFC and fight for a UFC world title. I called Hunter back and I said, ‘I don’t care what he wants. Get it done. Give him whatever he wants, sign this kid, I love him.”
Despite the admiration from the boss, Chandler has a tough test ahead of him. Oliveira holds the record for most submission wins in the organization, and has won eight in a row over tough competition. Chandler is not just looking at a one and done at the top, he is eyeing a long reign as the king of the lightweights, a division full of stars.