Michael Chandler admits he finds it weird that Dustin Poirier isn’t interested in facing him.
Poirier is coming off the biggest win of his career after knocking Conor McGregor out in the second round of their UFC 257 headliner last month.
“The Diamond” has since labeled himself as the uncrowned champion, though he doesn’t really seem receptive to the idea of fighting for the title against Charles Oliveira or Chandler as he seemingly prefers a trilogy with McGregor.
He even went as far as suggesting Chandler fight Oliveira for the vacant title. So what does Chandler make of it?
“I do think it’s a little bit weird,” Chandler told MMA Fighting. “No matter what, who I was before UFC 257 is much different in the eyes of the fans, the media, the rankings than who I am now after UFC 257.
“With the dominant performance that I put on against a guy that I finished in two-and-a-half minutes that took him 25 minutes to win a decision against. But Dustin Poirier is a champion in his own right. I believe he should be one half of the lightweight title picture, and it just remains to be seen who it will be. Dana White came out right away and said, ‘Man, Chandler’s performance, Poirier’s performance, seems like it makes sense for those two guys to fight next for the title.’”
Chandler Respects Poirier’s Opinion
Poirier also notably felt if anyone should fight for a title, it should be Oliveira rather than Chandler who despite enjoying a dream debut against Dan Hooker in the co-main event of UFC 257, has only competed once in the promotion.
Chandler respects Poirier’s opinion — even if he feels he has earned a shot regardless and could be in the title picture later on in the year.
“He can have his opinion,” Chandler said. “Even him saying I haven’t really earned it, I get where he is coming from. He has 20-something fights in the UFC, I have one. I have two-and-a-half minutes in the UFC essentially. I get what he’s saying, but I’ve earned my way in this sport over the last 12 years, over the last 27 fights. A lot of dominant victories, tons of first-round finishes, tons of exciting fights.
“We’ll see where the chips land, but I do know us top four are jockeying for a position and two of us should be fighting for that lightweight strap, hopefully this summer if not by the fall.”
And while many feel Poirier should be involved in any lightweight title fight, Chandler has qualms about facing another contender should the opportunity present itself.
“He [Poirier] said if they want Chandler to fight for the title, he’ll go sell hot sauce, and truthfully he might end up just being a hot sauce salesman for the next six months, because I think the title picture is going to move on,” Chandler added. “I’m not saying I’m going to be one half of it, but I do know life is about opportunities.
“Life is about saying yes. Life is about performance, especially in this industry. I’ve said yes to every opportunity. I’ve said yes at the drop of a hat with the UFC thinking, ‘Holy cow, this guy’s a little bit nuts for saying yes to this but I love it.’”
Hopefully, there is more clarity surrounding the top of the lightweight division in the next few weeks.