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Michael Chandler Sees Justin Gaethje Loss As A Win, Targets Early Summer Return

Chandler recaps his fight of the year against Gaethje, previews what's to come.

Michael Chandler Sees Justin Gaethje Loss As A Win, Targets Early Summer Return

Michael Chandler is coming off a monumental first year in the UFC. 

The former Bellator Champion may have exited 2021 with a 1-2 record, but he made a big splash in the lightweight division. He would start with one of the best debuts of the year, knocking out Dan Hooker in amazing fashion. Then, he’d be inches away from beating now-champion Charles Oliveira for the vacant title. 

The Justin Gaethje Fight

After losing in an amazing fight, Chandler would suffer another loss in an absolute war against 155lb juggernaut Justin Gaethje. ‘Iron’ hasn’t fought since this ‘fight of the year’ candidate and who can blame him? He claims he still feels the effects from that fight, two months after the fact.

It was a setback on paper, but the ever-motivational Michael Chandler didn’t see it as a loss.

“I’m in this sport for a short window of opportunity.” Chandler told ESPN. “I want to go out there and make people feel something. So I think what Justin Gaethje did on November 6th made people feel something that night and we’re still feeling it. I felt that physically for weeks, I’m still feeling it a little bit.

“It’s been awesome. It’s the first time in my career where a loss somehow still feels like a win. Cause you legitimize yourself… You wear your heart on your sleeve and you go out there and perform. The way the fans and all of my supporters have embraced it; even it being a loss, makes it feel like a win.

“So I’m excited for a big big year. This year, 2022 is going to be a big year.”

Taking Some Time Off

Admitting he can still feel the pain from his violent war at UFC 269, Chandler is taking some time off. The UFC Lightweight isn’t just a fighter, he’s a family man. He’s a loving husband and father when he’s not engaging in battle inside the Octagon. 

Having fought 3 times in 2021, Chandler has earned every bit of downtime. Chandler might fight like ‘Wolverine’ but unlike the superhero, he needs some time to heal. 

“Health is my number one goal,” Chandler continued. “So, I want to take a little bit of time off. I want to spend a couple months of just rehabbing my body, getting my body back to neutral. Not only was that a tough physical fight, but I signed with the UFC September of 2020. Then, in a span of 13-14 months, I made weight for different times, traveled across the world, had a title fight, had a fight of the year with Justin Gaethje. I was extremely active.

“I think to UFC fans, they think I’ve been signed with UFC for a very long time. It’s still just 15-16 months I’ve been signed with the organization. I’ve had an extremely busy last year, year and a half. So, I want to take a little bit of time off serve my family here in Nashville. Do a little bit of travel and enjoy my life a little bit and get myself back to neutral.

The Return

Chandler is enjoying his downtime, but he won’t be on the sidelines for long. In a few months, Chandler will put on his hard hat and go to work yet again. 

The former 2x Bellator king is looking to get back in the win column, in a summer showdown. 

“I think an early summer return would probably be great. Get back into training camp for the next few months or so, with an adequate amount of rest and recovery. [I will] put on a great show for the fans.”

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