It appears Michael Chandler will be taking his talents to the UFC.
Following Chandler’s first-round knockout over Benson Henderson, the former Bellator lightweight champion was set to enter free agency, and many wanted to see him inside the Octagon. Now, according to a report from ESPN’s Ariel Helwani, that appears to be the reality.
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) September 16, 2020
“One name that has been discussed [to fight Tony Ferguson] is free agent Michael Chandler,” Helwani reported. “The UFC is in advanced talks with Chandler, per sources, and is the front-runner to sign him, though a deal isn’t finalized just yet. It’s unclear if Ferguson is interested in that fight.”
Dana White has talked openly that he is talking with Michael Chandler and said he liked him. It would be a massive signing for the Las Vegas-based promotion. Chandler would also be thrown right into the deep end against Ferguson.
Originally, the plan for Tony Ferguson was to fight Dustin Poirier at UFC 254. Yet, it was revealed “The Diamond” wanted to be compensated fairly and he and the UFC could not come to fruition. So, White announced Ferguson would be fighting someone else as he claims Poirier did not want the fight.
Michael Chandler is riding a two-fight winning streak with both coming by first-round KO over Sidney Outlaw and Benson Henderson. Before that, he suffered a TKO loss to Patricio Freire to lose his lightweight title. In his career, he has notable wins over Eddie Alvarez, Patricky Freire, Marcin Held, and Goiti Yamaguchi among others.
If Chandler does sign with the UFC and fight Ferguson at UFC 254, it would no doubt be a huge fight for both men. For Chandler, it would be his chance to prove he is one of the best lightweights in the world. Ferguson, meanwhile, would look to rebound and get back into the win column and earn the next title shot.