Khabib Nurmagomedov doesn’t believe Michael Chandler is at the level of the other top UFC lightweights.
Nurmagomedov is set to face Justin Gaethje in a lightweight title unification fight in the UFC 254 headliner on Saturday. Should either fighter have to pull out, Chandler — the official backup for the main event — will step in as a replacement.
However, as far as “The Eagle” is concerned, Chandler shouldn’t be in this position and is better off going home.
“I don’t even need to use my wrestling versus Michael Chandler. This is what I think,” Nurmagomedov told TSN’s Aaron Bronsteter when asked about Chandler. “I know he just come here to Abu Dhabi, but he’s going to come here, make weight and go home. Thank you Michael Chandler, go home and fight with some other fighters.
“He’s not high-level championship fighter in UFC. Because two fights ago he lose in other organization, he lose in Bellator to a featherweight, he knock him out. He have to improve himself, he has to show the world he can fight for the title. Fight with someone from Top 5 in UFC and then we gonna talk about him.”
Khabib: "I don't even need to use my wrestling against Michael Chandler. I know he came here to Abu Dhabi, but he's going to come here, make weight and go home… Go home and fight with other fighters. He is not a high level championship fighter."
— Aaron Bronsteter (@aaronbronsteter) October 19, 2020
Chandler Responds To Nurmagomedov
Nurmagomedov, of course, is referring to Chandler’s knockout defeat to Patricio “Pitbull” Freire last year that saw him lose his Bellator lightweight title.
And it didn’t take long for Chandler to come across those comments and issue a response to the champion.
“Can’t wait to prove you wrong @teamkhabib …see you soon.”
Can’t wait to prove you wrong @teamkhabib …see you soon.
— Michael Chandler (@MikeChandlerMMA) October 20, 2020
If Chandler doesn’t end up needing to fight this weekend, it is likely he will have to fight someone else in the top five regardless. Should he get a win in that scenario, then we will seemingly start to see Nurmagomedov talk about him more.