Michael Chandler
Iron

USA

Not an option for RDA
LightweightUFC
November 9, 2020
Chandler will not be stepping in on short notice to face Rafael dos Anjos in the main event of UFC Fight Night 182 on Saturday, Brett Okamoto of ESPN reports.
ANALYSIS
Former lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos lost his opponent this weekend when Islam Makhachev was forced to withdraw due to a staph infection, and Chandler was RDA's first choice as a possible opponent. According to the report from Okamoto, however, the UFC has "other plans" for Chandler's immediate fighting future. Those plans presumably involve a ranked lightweight fighter, as opposed to someone like dos Anjos, who is unranked due to the fact he's returning to the division for the first time in four years. Whatever is next in store for Chandler, his next fight seems likely to affect the lightweight title picture.
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Makes championship weight
LightweightUFC
October 23, 2020
Chandler successfully weighed in at 155 pounds, serving as an alternate for the main event at UFC 254, MMAjunkie.com reports.
ANALYSIS
It's a tough ask for a fighter to make championship weight without a fight officially locked in, but that's exactly what Chandler -- a recent addition to the UFC roster -- has done. As a former Bellator Lightweight Champion, the UFC seems to think highly of his ability and will presumably schedule him in a high-profile fight in the near future. It doesn't appear as if that will happen Saturday, however, as both Khabib Nurmagomedov and Justin Gaethje successfully weighed in for the Saturday afternoon title fight.
Backup for Khabib vs. Gaethje
LightweightUFC
September 17, 2020
Chandler has been signed by the UFC and will serve as the backup for the Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Justin Gaethje lightweight bout at UFC 254 on October 24, Brett Okamoto of ESPN reports.
ANALYSIS
Chandler is a veteran and former champion under the Bellator banner, and has won five of his last six fights overall. At 34 years old, he will now get a chance on the UFC roster in the lightweight division. We will learn more about whether he will be needed for a massive bout scheduled at UFC 254 in late-October as the date approaches. Rumors had been floating around of a prospective matchup against Tony Ferguson after a bout against Dustin Poirier fell through, but it appears Dana White and co. are fine using Chandler in a reserve capacity for the time being.
Enters free agency with momentum
LightweightUFC
August 9, 2020
Chandler defeated Benson Henderson via KO (punches) at 2:09 of Round 1 at Bellator 243 at Mohegan Sun Arena on Saturday.
ANALYSIS
Chandler will now enter free agency on the heels of back-to-back stoppage victories and having won five of his last six fights overall. He's been a staple in Bellator since 2010, and while he's now 34 years old, there's little doubt he'd be competitive against many lightweights on the UFC roster. This was the second time he's defeated Henderson -- a former UFC fighter himself -- and the fact he did it via stoppage makes it all the more impressive. The two exchanged early, but a big left hand from Chandler ultimately dealt Henderson only the second stoppage via strikes of his 37-fight pro career. Chandler spent a long time as lightweight champion in Bellator before his belt was taken away by Patricio Freire in May of 2019. Other notable wins in Chandler's career include Patricky Freire (twice) and Eddie Alvarez, though Alvarez later avenged that loss.
Bellator 244 postponed
LightweightUFC
April 21, 2020
Chandler won't face Benson Henderson at Bellator 244 in Chicago on June 6 after the promotion announced in a statement Tuesday that the event has been postponed.
ANALYSIS
The statement reads that the promotion "fully intends to reschedule the event as soon as possible," but no firm target date has been outlined at this time. The Chandler (20-5-0) and Henderson (28-8-0) lightweight fight was slated to be the main event at Bellator 244.
Drops Bellator title in controversial fashion
LightweightUFC
May 12, 2019
Chandler lost his lightweight championship belt after going down to Patricio Freire via TKO (punches) at 1:01 of Round 1 at Bellator 221 on Saturday in Rosemont, Illinois.
ANALYSIS
Chandler was dropped by a right hand early that landed just behind his ear, and looked to be in serious trouble due to Pitbull's ground striking. There was no lack of controversy in this stoppage, however. Freire landed a sequence of ground-and-pound to the left side of Chandler's head, but the moment referee Rob Madrigal stepped in to stop the fight, Chandler bounced right back up. We'll never know how hurt Chandler really was, but to nobody's surprise, he immediately protested the stoppage. While the 33-year-old will relinquish his 155-pound strap for now, one would think he'll be coming back for what's his in the near future.