Michael Chandler knows he and Benson Henderson were going to fight again.
The two fought back at Bellator 165 where Chandler won a split-decision to defend his lightweight belt. It was a super competitive fight. Now in the main event of Bellator 244 on June 6, the two will run it back. For the former champ, he believes this is a title eliminator fight.
“This is a fight that needed to happen,” Chandler told MMA Junkie. “The lightweight division isn’t the deepest at Bellator, so two of the top guys going at it. They were talking about it being a title eliminator. Whoever wins this is going to fight for the title, and that’s kind of where I’ve been at my whole career. As soon as I beat Eddie Alvarez, I was fighting for the title or to get to that title.”
A big difference between the first fight and this one is that the rematch will only be three rounds given the belt is no longer on the line. For Michael Chandler, he says three rounds is a big advantage for him as he can go all out for the full 15 minutes.
“This fight poses some great threats,” Chandler said. “Benson Henderson is a hard guy – he’s not the most talented fighter, but he’s a hard guy to beat. He’s not an easy guy to beat, you’ve got to put a pace on him, you’ve got to put a gameplan on him. This three-round fight lends it’s hand more than a five-round fight would and I’m excited to – this fight is easier for me because I can put my foot on the gas for 15 minutes and put it on him and give the fans what they want and hopefully fight for the title later on this year.”
Entering this fight, Chandler is confident he’ll get his hand raised but knows finishing the fight will be tough. So, instead, he’s looking to break Benson Henderson.
“I also know, chances of me finishing him, in my mind the way I’m approaching it, are a lot less than I fought the first fight,” Chandler said. “The first fight, I thought I was going to go out there and finish him. So you saw how I fought the first round, second round, third, fourth, fifth round. This fight, I’m going to put on a good pace, a good methodical pace. Still violent, still deadly like I always am, bite down on my mouthpiece and throw techniques with ill-intent. But, not looking for that knockout shot – looking to really just break him.”