Michael Chandler has issued a warning to Conor McGregor and the UFC’s lightweight division as the former three-time Bellator 155lbs champion entered free agency.
The 34-year-old earned a sensational first-round knockout victory over Benson Henderson at Bellator 243 overnight, handing his lightweight rival only his second knockout defeat in his illustrious career.
Chandler now enters the market, and has his eyes on a big-money move to the UFC, revealing that he is eager to take on the promotion’s former lightweight and featherweight champion McGregor.
‘The business side of things, we’re going to make the best decision possible,’ Chandler said after Bellator 243. ‘The future’s bright, the phone is open, it’s going be a very interesting next couple of weeks.
‘Every single lightweight is on notice right now. Every single lightweight in the top 10 is on the clock. I’m a force to be reckoned with.
‘I’m a guy who’s been around this sport on the outside looking in, seeing, watching, scheming, plotting and planning his next big move.’
‘Iron’ has a professional record of 21 wins and five losses, and believes that his fighting style is ready-made to defeat McGregor, who retired from the sport for a third time earlier this year.
‘As far as that fight goes, I finish Conor in under two (rounds) in my opinion. It would be similar to shades of (Nate) Diaz 1, wear him down, hit him with hard shots, take every single one of his shots.
‘He’s got that sneaky strong, thick and hard left hand that he throws and it’s straight. Avoid that, wear him down a little bit, make him see Jesus, just put him out.’
Should Chandler make the move over to the UFC, he’d join a division stacked with talent, with the likes of Justin Gaethje, Tony Ferguson and Dustin Poirier all looking to dethrone the dominant Khabib Nurmagomedov.
MMA legend Chael Sonnen, who fought under both the Bellator and UFC promotions, feels that the timing may not be right for the former lightweight champion.
‘I don’t think Chandler would love the numbers, I don’t think there’s a huge use for him at 155lbs right now on that side of the tracks,’ Sonnen told Sky Sports.
‘I wouldn’t have any ill-will, he’s been here (at Bellator) for a long time, if he just wants to get a new experience I wouldn’t blame him at all.’