Justin Gaethje, Michael Chandler

Manager says it would be ‘no problem’ to book Justin Gaethje vs. Michael Chandler

With the UFC’s lightweight division currently wide open, one fight that seems to be of great interest is a clash between former interim champion Justin Gaethje and former multi-time Bellator titleholder Michael Chandler.

And according to Gaethje’s manager, Ali Abdelaziz, that’s a fight that could be on the horizon.

“Michael Chandler is trying so hard to fight Justin Gaethje; Justin will fight him,” Abdelaziz told MMA Junkie. “It’s no problem, no problem at all. But in my opinion, he’s a little lower level than Michael Johnson.”

The 34-year-old Chandler has generated quite a bit of buzz lately, as he made his UFC debut last month at UFC 257, triumphantly knocking out well-respected contender Dan Hooker in just a few minutes. After spending the last decade of his career in Bellator, Chandler immediately inserted himself into the UFC lightweight title picture with the victory.

Meanwhile, Johnson is a veteran of the UFC who served as Gaethje’s opponent when the former World Series of Fighting champion made his UFC debut in 2017. Since coming up short against Gaethje, Johnson has gone just 2-4 and is currently riding a three-fight losing streak heading into his return to action this weekend against Clay Guida.

While Johnson has earned impressive victories over Tony Ferguson, Edson Barboza, and Dustin Poirier throughout his career, he’s also struggled at times and has never truly reached the peak of the mountain.

However, Abdelaziz feels as if a prime Johnson was a superior fighter to the version of Chandler we see now.

“Michael Chandler is a little bit less of a fighter than when Michael Johnson was in his prime,” Abdelaziz said. “They’re both Michael, but I believe Michael Johnson was the better fighter. I think Michael Chandler is not like Michael Johnson used to be. He’s not like the Michael Johnson who beat Tony Ferguson, knocked out Dustin Poirier, beat all these guys. Mike Chandler is an old version of Michael Johnson.”

While that claim can certainly be debated, it doesn’t seem as if Abdelaziz is concerned with the type of challenge Chandler would present to Gaethje. Regardless, it’s a fight that makes sense and one that would almost guarantee fireworks.

Do Not Sell My Personal Information