Michael Chandler has no doubt in his mind that he will beat Charles Oliveira at UFC 262 next month, and then go on to face the winner of Dustin Poirier vs Conor McGregor 3, set to headline UFC 264 on July 10th.
Chandler made his promotional debut against Dan Hooker in the co-main event at UFC 257, headlined by the rematch between Poirier and McGregor. The former Bellator champion took less than three minutes to earn a TKO win, while ‘The Diamond’ stopped the Irishman in the second round in the main event.
With Poirier’s win over McGregor, all signs pointed towards a lightweight title fight against Charles Oliveira, after Khabib Nurmagomedov’s retirement. The Louisiana native however, opted to complete the trilogy with ‘The Notorious’ instead of fighting for the belt, making way for Chandler to step in and fight for the title.
‘Calling The Shots’
Speaking to MMA Junkie, Chandler said that Poirier will still be next in line to fight for the belt if he beats McGregor, who also deserves a title shot if he gets a dominant win at UFC 264.
“When I win the title on May 15th, I’m not going to be the guy calling shots,” Chandler said. “I’m going to be the champion and I hold the belt, but I’m not going to be the guy calling shots. You just look at the rankings and you look at the body of work of Dustin Poirier, he’s the obvious number one guy right now. He chose to take the money fight and pass up on the opportunity to fight for the title, so if he does beat Conor, he’s the obvious number one choice. But if Conor beats the number one guy, plus how big of a name he is, plus the star power of himself, plus when Conor’s on and Conor’s chasing the title, there’s not a spectacle more exciting in sports.
“So, he goes out there and runs through Dustin, or even beats Dustin in a dominant fashion, I think that makes him the number one contender. I’ll be holding the belt, and I’ll be there [cageside] in Vegas, excited to see who I’m going to fight probably later on this year or the first of next year.”
Responding To Dustin Poirier’s Shots
Poirier has been uncharacteristically critical of Chandler in the past few months, going as far as saying that he’s the promotion’s ‘yes man’, who’s fighting for ‘fool’s gold’ at UFC 262.
As respectful as he is towards his other rivals, including Conor McGregor, Chandler has clapped back at the former interim champion.
“Conor has not said one negative thing about me,” Chandler said. “Conor hasn’t really said my name at all. Not that that is a good thing or a bad thing. Poirier has. That’s fine. He can have his opinion of me. ‘I haven’t earned it’ or he’d rather sell hot sauce than fight me for the title, or it’s ‘fool’s gold.’ It was more directed at him because he’s been the guy that’s said the most.
“He’s got a big fight ahead of him. He’s got the biggest fight of his life ahead of him. Finishing a trilogy with Conor McGregor is the biggest thing he’s got on his plate. But then again, I should be more worried about Charles Oliveira, I guess.”
With so many intriguing fights coming up in the lightweight division, Chandler is excited for what the future holds.
“It’s an interesting lightweight division,” Chandler said. “Full of characters, full of fighters, full of world-class athletes, and I’m excited to be a part of it. I’m excited to ruffle a little bit of feathers. I said when I came into this organisation I didn’t want to just join the party. I wanted to kick down the door and come in and make myself known. That’s what I’m trying to do, and I’ve left no stone unturned here inside the gym, and that’s the most important thing.”
Who do you think wins a potential fight between Michael Chandler and Dustin Poirier?