Michael Chandler mentioned a lot of names when he won at UFC 274, but what happens when the options are presented might be a tough choice for him when the time comes.
“Champ sh*t only,” is a term coined by Tony Ferguson. Who, like Chandler that beat him at UFC 274 has always had his eyes on the prize of becoming the UFC lightweight champion. Chandler’s focus has been on the title since entering the UFC, but he has also tasted the life of a champion during his reign as the lightweight king at Bellator MMA. He won that title three times, but when he arrived in the UFC the average UFC fan was asking, “Who’s this guy?”
When looking at competitive combat sports in today’s landscape of mixed martial arts, the fighter that’s the champion is not necessarily the most famous or well known fighter. Hardcore fans are well aware of what Chandler is capable of when he is slotted for a main event and new fans are starting to learn that now. His wars in Bellator MMA against another former Bellator lightweight champion that became a UFC Champion, Eddie Alvarez are some of the most re-watched fights for MMA fans.
So with the UFC lightweight title vacant, in the playing field of the UFC’s matchmaking what does someone so close to UFC gold do?
When asked on UFC Quick Hits, immediately after his win does he want a title or a fight with the most well known man in MMA, Conor McGregor, Chandler said, “I got into the sport to be a champion it’s for me it’s 50/50.”
Chandler elaborated and said, “I want to become champion. That’s why I got into this sport, but I want to reach the masses. I want to touch every corner of the globe with these talents that god has given me and you do that when you fight Conor. You do that when those lights are the brightest, when that stage is the biggest and whenever you’re fighting an international sports icon like Conor McGregor. So, it’s a tough call.”
Since coined terms MMA are already mentioned, another one comes to mind when it comes to matching up with McGregor, one that McGregor came up with when speaking of what fights against him do for his opponents. “Red panty night.”
The phrase is meant to hint at the life changing money fighters that call McGregor out. McGregor said that when he was at his peak and the champion of two divisions. But even without the titles McGregor’s name has still proven to be good for MMA, the UFC and whomever he faces.
Ultimately, the UFC will have their meetings and figure out what’s next and present those options to Chandler, and he is aware of how the machine of the UFC works.
Chandler closed by saying, “Obviously, you know the UFC, the best promoters on the entire planet. Who have quarterbacked this entire industry to where it is, so they’re gonna make their decision, and all I know is I’m gonna be here resting up loving on these three heartbeats (referencing his wife and kids), and we’ll see when that phone rings.”
What do you think happens?
Edward holds a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Bachelor’s degree in Communications. Along with over 20 years martial arts experience, he co-hosts The Coast-2-Coast Combat Hour, and also writes for Sherdog while maintaining his own site, The Blogboard Jungle. You can follow him on Twitter @Carbazel