Islam Makhachev didn’t just call out Tony Ferguson after his primary event win at UFC Vegas 31. Makhachev also listed Michael Chandler as a potential opponent, and Chandler immediately reacted to the callout as a member of the commentary panel.
Makhachev took on Thiago Moises during the main event of UFC Vegas 31. Leading up to the fight, both the UFC and various MMA pundits dubbed Islam “Khabib 2.0” due to their similar fight styles and close relationship. Although the pair don’t fight the same way, the theme of dominance was present as Islam was able to submit Moises in the fourth round of their fight.
Islam Makhachev Calls Out Michael Chandler
During the UFC Vegas 31 post-fight press conference, media members asked Islam who he would like to fight next. Makhachev listed a host of contenders, including UFC newcomer Michael Chandler on the fast track to the title.
Islam Makhachev (@MAKHACHEVMMA) tells me he his ideal next fight would be Michael Chandler. Interested in Rafael dos Anjos and Tony Ferguson, as well. He also says he thinks Dustin Poirier will be the champion, when he gets his shot at a UFC title.
— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) July 18, 2021
“I see here Michael Chandler, why not? Let’s go Chandler,” Makhachev said.
“You come for (an) easy fight in the UFC? No, you come from Bellator, we want to give you a hard time. Let’s do this. Chandler, if you hear me, let’s do this. You come from Bellator, I want to check your skills.”
Chandler Responds to Call Out
Chandler was a member of the commentary desk team for the night’s festivities. He answered Islam’s callout, although he didn’t fully accept the challenge. Instead, he elected to remind him of his placement in the current rankings, eluding that he may have to win more fights before he gets a shot against Chandler.
“He did what he said he was going to do tonight and he did what he needed to do tonight, which was go out there and put a big stamp on his performance,” said Chandler. “Now he’s doing what he needs to do as well. He’s sitting at No. 9, he wants to say as many names as he possibly can. Slick little call out.
“The man impressed tonight. I’ve got to take my fighter hat off, be the analyst tonight, he did a phenomenal job against a very tough man. Kid’s got a bright future, we’ll see what happens.”
“I’m a homer when it comes to wrestling,” Chandler said. I think wrestling beats everything. I think wrestling beats judo, [Brazilian jiu-jitsu], I think it beats sambo but that’s just me being a homer. But what Islam Makhachev does is he gets you to these positions and he puts you in a position where you can’t really move. Thiago Moises has phenomenal chain grappling. We’ve seen him go all over the place, up, down, do flips, roll, sweep. He wasn’t able to do a lot of those things. The thing that Islam does best is he neutralizes guys. When you neutralize a guy, it’s not just physical. It’s mental. It’s emotional. It’s cardio. He sucks the life out of guys.
“Can he push the pace for that long? He showed tonight he can get a finish later in the rounds. I think wrestling beats sambo. I think wrestling beats every other ground martial art. Maybe someday we’ll see.”
Would fans like to see Makhachev versus Chandler?