Michael Chandler has explained why he believes UFC lightweight champion Charles Oliveira deserves to be named fighter of the year 2021.
Chandler faced Oliveira for the vacant lightweight title at UFC 262, where he dominated the first round, but ‘Do Bronx’ made a huge comeback in the second round, finishing the American via TKO. The Brazilian made his first successful title defence by submitting Dustin Poirier in the third round at UFC 269 earlier this year, proving his critics wrong yet again and solidifying his place as the best lightweight in the world.
Chandler’s Fighter Of The Year
Speaking on MMA Fighting‘s ‘The Fighter vs The Writer’ podcast, Chandler said that Oliveira proved him wrong as well, and he is his pick for the fighter of the year.
“You can’t get in a championship fight, almost get knocked out and lose a 10-8 round to me and come back and meet me in the center of the Octagon like he did and win the fight or have somewhat of a lopsided win against Dustin Poirier, a finish but dominant two rounds and not have the opinion of yourself being a champion or being of championship caliber,” Chandler said. “We were wrong about Charles Oliveira. I’ll be the first to admit it as well.
“I think that would probably be my pick for fighter of the year. Watching what Charles Oliveira has done this year. Claiming gold and then defending it against one of the best to ever do it at lightweight, one of the greatest lightweights of all time, will inevitably be a UFC hall of famer Dustin Poirier. Hats off to him. I think he would be my pick for fighter of the year.”
While Chandler believes Oliveira deserves the fighter of the year title, Daniel Cormier said that he’s picking UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman, who defended his title three times this year, against Gilbert Burns, Jorge Masvidal and Colby Covington.
Who do you think should be UFC fighter of the year 2021?