UFC newcomer Michael Chandler has been floating around some ideas for who he will make his UFC debut against. However he seems to have narrowed his options down to one choice, even if that choice terrifies him.
Upon signing to the UFC, former Bellator lightweight champion Chandler came in with an immediate target on his back. This largely stemmed from the fact that he had the potential to skip the queue, when it was revealed that he would be immediately serving as a backup for the lightweight title fight between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Justin Gaethje. In the end this proved to be a non-issue, and he is now being left to look for a new opponent to make his debut against.
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Michael Chandler Is Scared Of Tony Ferguson
There are essentially two opponents that are being named as the first that Michael Chandler will face in the Octagon: Tony Ferguson or Justin Gaethje. Speaking on the Food Truck Diaries, the former Bellator champ explained that of those two, Tony likely makes the most sense. That being said, he is still scared to face El Cucuy, knowing how brutal fights with him are.
“I think I just go back to the Ferguson fight,” Chandler said. “That was the original one that I started visualizing getting my hand raised the first time. He’s coming off a loss to Gaethje, either way both of them are coming off of loses, but he’s coming off a lose to Gaethje and I think he wants to get back in the win column.
“We can’t look at that loss and forget that Tony Ferguson was on a twelve fight win streak,” Chandler continued. “He’s the scariest guy in the division because he’s just so out there. He’s the guy that’s going to throw fake sand in your face, he’s just a wild card inside the cage. He’s good at everything and if you look at the pictures of everybody’s faces that he has fought over that twelve fight streak, he just crushes them. That’s a fight that scares me, therefore that’s a fight that excites me and that’s a perfect way to introduce myself to the UFC fans.”
Who Is The Better Matchup?
Although Michael Chandler is wanting to fight Tony Ferguson, he believes that stylistically Justin Gaethje is the easier fight for him. He says that there were some holes exposed in Gaethje’s game against Khabib, that he could also exploit. That being said, he is not here to take the easy fights, he wants to be pushed.
“I think I do match up better with Gaethje,” Chandler said. “That’s the thing, business-wise you want to fight the guy that you have the best chance of winning, and both of them have essentially fought for the title… essentially they are 1 and 1A. They are both former interim champions, they are both the number one guys even though they both have lost, so either of them is a great springboard to get into that title picture.
“Gaethje to me is an extremely exciting fight,” Chandler explained. “That’s a fight of the year candidate, that’s a fun fun fight. The Tony Ferguson fight is a little more dangerous because he’s a wild card, he can finish you anywhere, he’s got power in his hands, he’s unorthodox, he’s extremely slick on the ground, he chokes people out and just annihilates people and wears them down. The Gaethje fight, he’s a wild card as far as he’s a wild man who will fight extremely hard, but he’s a little more basic. He’s throwing 1’s, 2’s, 3’s, and leg kicks. You know what you’re getting. We just saw that he might have a pretty decent chink in his armor on the ground. I love the idea of a great ground fight as well.”
Would you rather see Michael Chandler fight Tony Ferguson or Justin Gaethje? Which is a better matchup for him?