Michael Chandler recently made his long-awaited UFC debut and the newcomer has effectively shaken up the entire division with his performance. Chandler met Dan Hooker in the co-main event of UFC 257 and knocked his opponent out with a perfectly placed left hook and follow-up punches in the first round.
Chandler took to the microphone moments after the finish and in his best Ric Flair impression called out names such as Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier, who were set to compete shortly in the main event on the same card. Poirier picked up his very own finish and knocked out McGregor in the second round.
With both Chandler and Poirier putting on statement-making performances, there were rumblings of a fight between them being made for what could be the vacant lightweight title fairly soon. Chandler and UFC President Dana White were completely on board for that to happen, but Poirier was uninterested.
Chandler still pushed for a fight with Poirier in spite of his disinterest and continued to do so in his post-fight media appearances. On an episode of The Jim Rome Show, Chandler explained why the fight with Poirier is indeed the one to make.
“That is definitely a fight that interests me,” said Chandler. “To be honest with you, Dustin Poirier was the first fight that I tried to get inside the UFC. I think I match up extremely well against him. I got a ton of respect for that man inside the Octagon and outside the Octagon. He’s a champion in his own right. I got to watch him cageside, go and put away Conor McGregor, one of the greatest of all time. At this point, the performances that we both put on, I think warrants that next title shot.
“Listen, Khabib Nurmagomedov is the greatest to ever do it, but we all know he’s stepping away. Let’s let him step away. Let’s relinquish the belt. Let’s put it on the line between me and Dustin Poirier here in the next quarter, and I promise you after that fight, I will be the UFC champion. I hope that’s the one that happens and hopefully we can celebrate after.”
Nurmagomedov signaled to the aforementioned White that he is likely going to stay retired after making the decision to do so several months ago at UFC 254, so the championship will probably be put up for grabs in the near future.
Poirier appears to be interested in fighting for it once it is vacant, but not against Chandler. Poirier welcomed fights against fellow contender Charles Oliveira, Nate Diaz and McGregor again before entertaining Chandler at this time.
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