Well, it’s certainly been a busy twenty-four hours for the UFC’s lightweight division. Following the recent singing of KSW lightweight best, Mateusz Gamrot – the promotion has agreed terms with former three-time Bellator lightweight kingpin, Michael Chandler to link up with the organization.
Forever rumoured with a dream move to the promotion, Missouri native, Chandler has put pen to paper on a deal to join up with the UFC’s lightweight ranks. While a mouth-watering matchup with former interim lightweight best, Tony ‘El Cucuy’ Ferguson failed to materialise for UFC 254 on October 24th. – the wrestling ace has a somewhat outside chance of featuring on ‘Fight Island’ nonetheless.
Speaking with Sportscenter in which he revealed the promotion had signed Chandler, UFC head-honcho, Dana White also explained how Chandler will act as backup for the UFC 254 headlining lightweight unification bout between Khabib ‘The Eagle’ Nurmagomedov, and interim gold holder, Justin ‘The Highlight’ Gaethje.
In a text message to ESPN MMA reporter, Brett Okamoto – the Sanford MMA mainstay detailed his delight to finally link up with the UFC after testing free agency following an August knockout of the promotion’s former lightweight titleholder, ‘Smooth’ Benson Henderson.
“Michael Chandler (@MikeChandlerMMA) via text: Eventually hard work pays off, you just have to still be standing there when it does. I’m humbled by the opportunity and can’t wait to go prove what I have been saying for the past eleven years; that I’m the best 155er (-pound fighter) in the world.“
A former three-time Bellator 155-pound champion, Chandler bested the likes of former UFC best, Eddie Alvarez in a classic, to begin his gold-laden career, before recapturing the crown with a vacant title win opposite Patricky ‘Pitbull’ Freire, and then a rematch win over Brent Primus.
Speculation began to grow in regards to Chandler’s possible signature with the UFC – with upcoming welterweight title challenger, Gilbert ‘Durinho’ Burns, Chandler’s Sanford MMA training partner – posting a video on social media of anti-doping agency, USADA and the latter in the same building, beginning somewhat of a frenzy online.