Michael Chandler is the new guy in the UFC lightweight division but he might be making the most noise. He had a dominant career in Bellator before making the deep dive into the most stacked division in the UFC. Chandler is coming off his first loss in the organization when now champ, Charles Oliveira, took him out in the second round of UFC 262. Chandler is still determined to make it to the top of the 155 pounds division and on the way are some straight-up killers. Among these killers is Justin Gaethje, who has not fought since October of 2020, when he was submitted by Khabib Nurmagomedov.
It seems as if Gaethje is sitting and waiting for another shot at the title, but perhaps he is waiting too long. Yes, he was the nest ranked guy, but now Dustin Poirier has leapfrogged him, and the more he waits the more fighters could hop ahead. A fight with Chandler seems like a perfect fit and Chandler has been saying this since his first day in the UFC. He recently spoke to fans on his personal Instagram page about wanting this matchup with Gaethje.
“But Justin Gaethje: Come on, bro. You call yourself a fighter, and you are, you’re one of the most exciting guys in mixed martial arts,” Chandler said on Instagram (via MMA News) Be prepared to make a highlight or be made a highlight because that’s what I am. That’s what I’m ready to do.”
Gaethje has not been as vocal about what he wants next. Chandler has been called out but rising star Islam Makhachev, following his impressive win this past weekend. Chandler believes this target from Makhachev is a ploy by his manager, who also represents Gaethje, to take the heat away from Chandler wanting Gaethje. Chandler is staying persistent on what he wants, and that is Gaethje.
“I’ll tell you what, I’ve said Justin Gaethje’s name no less than 100 times since I’ve signed with the organization,” Chandler said. “He’s been asked to fight me three or four different times. Every time he’s declined. He and I are ranked two spots away from each other. He has not fought since last October. He needs to get a fight in if he thinks he’s going to fight for the title. For some reason, him and his camp have no interest in fighting me.”
Michael Chandler is currently sitting in the number four spot with Islam Makhachev right behind him. If there is still no response from Gaethje, that matchup would not be a bad idea. Chandler is a hot commodity in the UFC right now. He is new, he has the fanbase surrounding him, and now he even has a job on the fight desk. He should not be having trouble finding an opponent and could be matched up soon, although maybe not with Gaethje.