With former interim UFC lightweight titleholder, Tony ‘El Cucuy‘ Ferguson set to remain on the UFC 254 card on October 24 – the promotion are reportedly keeping tabs on former three-time Bellator lightweight best, Michael Chandler, considering the free-agent as a dance partner for the former.

The original plan was a targeted pairing of Ferguson, and fellow former interim best, Dustin ‘The Diamond’ Poirier on the ‘Fight Island’ card, with the promotion failing to come to terms with Poirier which would pit him with Ferguson, resulting in the ultimate scrapping of the matchup.

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Since then, UFC president, Dana White has explained how he believed Poirier didn’t want to fight Ferguson, hinting that he may have negotiated himself out of the clash. In terms of an opponent for the former, White remained coy, with Kiwi striker, Dan Hooker floated, but with this evening’s developments, the promotion is keeping an eye on the availability of Chandler.

ESPN MMA reporter, Ariel Helwani reported this afternoon that the UFC are “front-runners” in the race to sign Chandler, with the Missouri native testing free-agency following his ten-year stint with Bellator MMA. Helwani went on to tell how it’s unsure if a fight with Chandler is one that Ferguson is even interested in.

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One name that has been discussed [to fight Tony Ferguson] is free agent Michael Chandler… The UFC is in advanced talks with Chandler, per sources, and is the front-runner to sign him, though a deal isn’t finalised just yet. It’s unclear if Ferguson is interested in that fight.

Sanford MMA staple, Chandler recently improved his winning run to two fights, adding a second career victory over former WEC and UFC lightweight best, ‘Smooth’ Benson Henderson in August, to a December stoppage against Sidney Outlaw.

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A matchup with Chandler would mark Ferguson’s second Octagon appearance of the year, following the snapping of his incredible twelve-fight winning streak at the hands of current interim best, Justin ‘The Highlight’ Gaethje at UFC 249 in May. 

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.