Dustin Poirier and Michael Chandler had a heated run-in at UFC 276 in July. That little moment led the two elite lightweights to UFC 281 in November, where they face off in the main card.
Given how tense the situation was during that cageside encounter, Chandler believes “The Diamond” may be taking their fight personally.
“I think it’s personal because of me, but not toward me, if that makes sense,” Chandler said in a recent appearance on The MMA Hour. “I think Dustin’s been the guy for a very, very long time, and I was the guy who came in and have done what I’ve done.
“I don’t think it’s necessarily directed toward me personally, just this figure of this guy who is me stepping inside the cage.”
A decorated veteran himself with three stints as Bellator’s lightweight champion, Chandler’s been in similar situations. But in the case of Poirier, he’s looking at it as just another fight.
“I’ve made fights personal in the past, and it’s never worked out really well,” he said. “But truthfully, I think those moments or scenarios warranted somewhat of a personal beef, if you will. I really honestly have nothing against Dustin.
“Would I have taken the fight against Dustin had he been in Bellator for however many years and came over and I was a top-five guy? Would I have fought him? I probably would have, but I can’t say for certain that I would.
“Would I have said the same things he said about me? Possibly, if I was thinking I’d cut my teeth in the biggest organization in the world for 15 years like he did. So I can’t put myself in his shoes, but it’s not personal.
“People want it to be personal. He and I will, as we always do, go out there and bite down on our mouthpieces and get into a hard-fought scrap, and it will be entertaining, and like Dustin said, somebody’s most likely getting sparked out. So we’ll see what happens.”
UFC 281 happens on November 12 at Madison Square Garden. Co-headlining the event is a strawweight title fight between champion Carla Esparza and Zhang Weili. Set to headline the card is the middleweight title fight between Israel Adesanya and Alex Pereira.
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