Michael Chandler wants to be thrown in with the wolves right away.
The former Bellator lightweight champion’s signing with the UFC was recently made official and his debut could see him challenge for the title.
That’s because UFC president Dana White revealed Chandler would be the backup for the UFC 254 lightweight title clash between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Justin Gaethje. Of course, should both fighters make the weight and remain injury-free, the chances are Chandler will end up facing another lightweight contender first.
That said, he is still excited to finally prove himself in the top mixed martial arts promotion.
“Just extremely excited. I am a new signing to the UFC but I’m not by no means, a new fighter,” Chandler told TMZ. “I’ve been in this sport for over a decade. Won multiple titles, won a lot of fights, had a lot of ups, a lot of downs.
“I’ve been saying it for 11 years now, that I think I’m the best lightweight in the world. I now have the opportunity to fight in the ultimate proving grounds that is the UFC. Here we go, baby. Pull your hat down tight — it’s going to be a wild ride.”
Chandler Wants To Jump In The Top Five Right Away
At 34 years of age, however, Chandler doesn’t have a lot of time left in the sport when it comes to his prime years.
That is why he is looking to make the most of his time in the UFC and face all the top contenders right away rather than being gradually pushed by the promotion.
“I told the UFC, ‘Listen, I’m not here for a long time – I’m here for a good time,” Chandler said. “I want to jump right into that top five right away. Either I am who I say I am or I’m not. Sink or swim. Throw me in there with the wolves and let’s see where I come out.”
As for a message to the rest of the division? Nothing other than the fact that he maintains he is the best 155-pounder in the world and is eager to prove it. Especially if he is required to step in on October 24 at UFC 254.
“I do [have a message]. No disrespect – I’m a fan of and respect the work of every single guy in the UFC, period. But especially in the lightweight division. I’ve said it for 11 years — I’m the best lightweight on the planet,” Chandler added. “Have I disproven that theory numerous times by losing or having underwhelming performances? Absolutely. But people love a winner, but they love even more a winner who loses and comes back and sets himself for a comeback.
“I’ve gone through a lot in this sport, and nothing can take this opportunity away from me. If it is October 24, I’m going to be ready, and I think I’m think I’m just a different animal.”
You can watch the interview below: