Aljamain Sterling wants Michael Chandler to use his entire arsenal in his next fight against Conor McGregor.
Since making his UFC debut in 2021, the former Bellator Lightweight Champion has always looked to put on a show for the fans. While he has delivered on the entertainment aspect in each of his five fights, Chandler has been criticized for how he fights with many calling him out on a lack of fight IQ. This stems from his losses to Charles Oliveira, Justin Gaethje and most recently Dustin Poirier.
Chandler’s ‘Campfire Story’
Chandler is a well-rounded fighter with wrestling credentials but that won’t stop him from throwing caution to the wind sometimes, producing some of the best fights the promotion has ever seen in the process. While there’s no denying that Chandler has put on great fights, Sterling believes he can be much greater and starts with his next fight against ‘The Notorious’.
“If Chandler’s goal is ‘I wanna make as much money as possible just by entertaining’, hey, that’s cool,” Sterling said on his YouTube channel. “But if you want to be remembered as one of the best guys to ever do it, not the guy who was just, ‘ah, he was so good’. Like you don’t want people telling stories about you around the fire pit, ‘yeah, that Michael Chandler guy was so damn good, he could have been this, that, maybe even a two weight champ, but he just wouldn’t get out of his own way. He just liked to put on entertaining fights and he would just go crazy and just do crazy stuff. Fighting with his hands down had so much hard, he’s so tough’.
“If that’s the story you want, if that’s the campfire story you want to tell people for the next few generations, that’s cool. It’s all perspective. But at the end of the day, I feel like as a guy who wrestled, you have a hunger to want to stand on top of the podium cause that’s why we wrestle. We always want to be the NCAA a champion and when you come up short with that and you have another opportunity, I know that hunger is still in the back of your mind. Like, ‘I know I can be if I just do things the right way.'”
Sterling’s Advice To Chandler
Don’t get it twisted. Sterling isn’t saying that Chandler should make his next fight boring. ‘Funkmaster’ just wants to see Chandler use all of his tools and absolutely everything he’s got in his fight against McGregor.
“I’m not saying go out there and be boring, but I am saying use your MMA skillset, use everything,” Sterling continued. “Use your grappling, use your striking, be entertaining, but mix in the wrestling when you have to. Circle when you need to. Put your hands up, put your hands down when appropriate. If you want to showboat, do some gamesmanship, cool. But, there’s a place and time for everything depending on your perspective and what you want out of this, a few more fights that you have for your career.”
‘It Depends On Who Shows Up’
Sterling refuses to count out McGregor, who says Chandler is a ‘tailor made’ matchup for the returning Irish superstar. But, the bantamweight champion has Chandler if he shows up in the right mindset, come fight night.
“I’m looking forward to this fight. I think Conor has the stylistic build to win with the kicks. Can he bring back the kicks? Is he still as hungry? Is he gonna be doing the spinning wheel kick? Is he gonna come out leading with that southpaw, coming with the faints, stepping in with— front kicks, where it’s not like a push kick. He snaps it with the toe, tries to dig it into the solar plex or the liver if he can. Have somebody do that to you and I guarantee you’re gonna be like, ‘that sucked’. And then he’ll come with the head kick and then come back with a spinning back wheel kick.
“So, [if] that type of Conor comes back has his gas tank in order, that’s a dangerous guy. But then you have a guy like Chandler who can hit like ‘Iron’ Mike Tyson and at the same time wrestle his ass off if needed. It depends on who shows up. I think Conor’s coming there to win because this is a tailor made matchup. With the shows that Michael Chandler has showed us in the past, if that Chandler shows up, this is Conor’s fight to lose. But, if Chandler comes in game-ready showing that ‘I want to be an actual threat to the throne and really win and not just make a red panty night payday’, I think he goes out there and gets it done over Conor McGregor.”