There is a huge lightweight bout being discussed for the upcoming New York City card. According to Ariel Helwani, the UFC is planning to match up Dustin Poirier and Michael Chandler for UFC 281 in Madison Square Garden. This fight would be the number two and number five fighters in the division squaring off. The winner of this proposed bout could in theory get the next title shot with a win. Although the bout is not yet official, Chandler recently gave his thoughts on the pairing.
“I think he’s one of the best in the world but he’s also had a couple Conor [McGregor] fights, he’s got a little bit of money in the bank, he’s getting older, it’s hard for him to make the weight, he’s talked about going up to 170,” Chandler said of Poirier to MMA Fighting. “These are all telltale signs that I think this is the right time for me to fight him and the wrong time for him to fight me. That’s no disrespect against him. I want to compete against him. I compete against anybody in the top 5 that’s going to get me towards a title shot.”
These two men have had some drama building between them in recent months. At UFC 276, while attending the event as spectators, the two got into a verbal altercation. There was some name calling and the pair had to be separated. Chandler is not crediting the incident with why these two may be fighting next, but instead, thinks the bout will likely lead him to a title shot.
Chandler has his sights set on a title shot and believes beating Poirier is the way to get there
Chandler lost his first UFC title shot against Charles Oliveira in 2021 and he has been trying to get back that chance since. Poirier has had a few title shots in his time and even held the interim title at one point. Chandler thinks that all the success Poirier has found might have made him a lesser fighter and think this is the perfect opportunity to get past him.
As for the location of the fight, although New York has been detailed as the frontrunner, Chandler explained that he would rather fight in Las Vegas on the last Pay-Per-View event of the year.