Michael Chandler Believes Islam Makhachev Should Defend Lightweight Title Before Fighting Alexander Volkanovski

Michael Chandler Thinks Islam Makhachev Should Fight Another Lightweight Before Alexander Volkanovski

Michael Chandler
Michael Chandler, Islam Makhachev, and Alexander Volkanovski (via Instagram)

Michael Chandler thinks he should get the next lightweight title shot with a win against Dustin Poirier at UFC 281

The UFC lightweight division has continued to be the premier weight class over the years. Now that Islam Makhachev is the champion, top contenders are lining up for a crack at Khabib Nurmagomedov’s prodigy. Two lightweights looking to make an argument for the next title shot are Chandler and Poirier, who will square off in a highly-anticipated fight at UFC 281. 

During the UFC 281 media day, Chandler was asked about Alexander Volkanovski potentially moving up to featherweight to take on Makhachev. ‘Iron’ responded by saying:

“I think if there’s a guy out there who deserves to move up, I think it is Alex Volkanovski. Obviously, the selfish part of me says I don’t want that to happen. I understand how it makes a ton of sense from a promoter’s standpoint, from the UFC’s standpoint. You got the number one pound-for-pound guy in the world vs the number three pound of pound guy in the world, but I also think that Islam has proved himself to be our champion, he is our champion, and we have to accept that, and I think he is a phenomenal talent. I also think he needs to have his first title defence against a lightweight. He needs to get through another lightweight before they start talking about super fights.”

Chandler then concluded by saying:

“Once again, I don’t say that to say the UFC is making a bad decision or the wrong decision if they make that decision to let Volkanovski move up, but I think when I handle business on Saturday night, I think it’ll be undeniable that they’re gonna wanna see good ole fashion passionate American wrestling vs Dagestani sambo, Dagestani grappling. That’s what I hope we get to see.”

Chandler has marketed himself into a position to always be close to a title shot. With recent rumors about Volkanovski vs Makhachev falling through, the winner between ‘Iron’ and Poirier could end up fighting for the lightweight title next. Before worrying about a title shot, both lightweight contenders are focused on UFC 281. 

Watch Michael Chandler at the UFC 281 media day below:

Michael Chandler discusses the possibility of wrestling Dustin Poirier more than past UFC fights 

Michael Chandler wrestled at the University of Missouri before transitioning to MMA. Chandler has leaned on his wrestling pedigree at certain points in his MMA career. Since joining the UFC, ‘Iron’ has relied on his brawling style that he showed flashes of in Bellator. During the UFC 281 media day, the former Bellator champion was asked about potentially wrestling Dustin Poirier, and he had this to say:

“There’s always a chance. I wanna be able to go in there and move freely about the cage. When that Octagon door closes, I want to touch gloves and kinda just let it fly, honestly. I wanna let it fly. I wanna let it move, but yeah, I think my wrestling is something we haven’t seen a lot in the UFC. You see what happens when I do take a shot. Picked Justin Gaethje up, make him do a front flip. Blast Tony Ferguson across the cage and hold him there. If you go back to my previous fights before I came in the UFC, when I take guys down, I can control them, and I can dominate them, and they do not get up. So, the openings may be there. If they are, you’ll see Dustin Poirier get taken down. If not, you’ll see a slugfest. 

Some MMA analysts have been concerned about Chandler potentially prioritizing exciting fights over wins. ‘Iron’ might end up flipping the script and wrestling Poirier, which could lead to success with less damage. With that said, the former Missouri wrestler loves an entertaining standup brawl, and he’s built a diehard fanbase off of that passion.

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