Former three-time Bellator lightweight best, Michael Chandler may only have an outsiders chance of clashing with Khabib ‘The Eagle’ Nurmagomedov on October 24 at UFC 254 but nevertheless, he remains “extremely confident” he’d overthrow the undefeated Dagestani.

After putting pen to paper on a multi-fight deal with the UFC following a ten-year stint with the above mentioned, Scott Coker led Bellator – Chandler was confirmed as the backup fighter for the ‘Fight Island’ event, ready to replace either Khabib or interim best, Justin ‘The Highlight’ Gaethje if the opportunity arises. 

Chandler, who was briefly rumoured as featuring on the pay-per-view event will travel to Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, UAE – where he will make weight on the Friday before fight night, serving as a backup fighter for the main event clash. 

Speaking with MMA Fighting recently, the Sanford MMA mainstay detailed his admiration towards Sambo ace, Khabib – but remained firm that if he was afforded the opportunity to meet the Dagestan native, he would be “extremely confident” in finding a result.

Extremely confident,” Chandler explained. “Because I don’t care if its’ day one or day one-thousand, I’ve put in my ten-thousand hours in this sport and I’ve been focusing on beating Khabib (Nurmagomedov) since he got in the UFC. I’ve been studying him and I knew he was going to become champion four fights before he actually became champion. He’s got a champion’s mindset, he’s got the physical attributes and he’s got a style that has looked about as unbeatable as anyone we’ve ever seen in the UFC.” (H/T

Despite the lack of time to prepare for either the possibility of meeting the vastly different styles of Khabib and Gaethje – Chandler believes he’s ready for the opportunity nonetheless.

I’ve been training to fight Khabib for six years, eight years,” Chandler said. “Now, if the opportunity presents itself, that comes to fruition. I don’t care if it’s midnight the night before, someone gets hurt or someone gets sick, I’m going to be ready to step in. Whether it’s five weeks’ notice, five hours’ notice or five minutes’ notice.

While Chandler isn’t even guaranteed an Octagon debut on October 24 – he rides an eye-catching two-fight knockout winning run into the promotional bow, with a December stoppage of Dana White’s Contender Series alum, Sidney Outlaw, as well as a second career win over former UFC and WEC 155-pound best, Benson ‘Smooth’ Henderson in August of this annum. 

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Aspiring mixed martial arts reporter based in Ireland. Follow along at @Ross_Markey on Twitter for all the latest news, fight announcements, opinion, and feature pieces.