Ahead of his vacant UFC lightweight title challenge in the main event of UFC 262 on May 15. — ‘Iron’ Michael Chandler has claimed that he likes the recently floated idea of ‘The McGregor Belt’ as well as calling for the title to be created in time for its first defence ahead of a projected winter showdown against the Dubliner.
Chandler draws the surging #3 ranked, Charles ‘Do Bronx’ Oliveira in the Toyota Center main event in Houston, Texas — competing for undisputed lightweight gold in just his second Octagon appearance following his January debut in the UFC.
Sitting at #4 in the official 155-pound pile himself, Chandler took co-main event status at UFC 257 on ‘Fight Island’ — matching with City Kickboxing mainstay, Dan Hooker, landing in the organization with a massive statement-making first-round knockout triumph.
Slated to take main event honours at UFC 264 on July 10. in a lightweight trilogy rubber match against Dustin Poirier, the aforenoted former two-weight champion, McGregor called for the UFC to create a symbolic ‘The McGregor Belt’.
Predicting his first defence of the lightweight championship, Chandler recently explained that he believes he’ll matchup with McGregor after he assumes the throne against Oliveira.
“I think it’s Conor (McGregor),” Chandler replied when asked who he predicts he could stand across in his first title defence if he overthrows Oliveira. “I actually watched, ‘The Detail’ they do on — Daniel Cormier narrates it, and kinda breaks down the fight and I watched it. I think there’s some — just very few little things that Conor can do to win that fight (against Poirier). I think it’s Conor McGregor — I think it’s sometime later this fall or winter. But also, that’s probably wishful thinking.“
“If it’s Dustin Poirier, I’m excited about that opportunity as well,” Chandler explained. “I think I match up with Dustin Poirier better than a lot of those guys in the division — that’s why I called for that fight right away. He said ‘No’, and (Justin) Gaethje said ‘no’, and (Tony) Ferguson said ‘no’ and every single one of these guys had said no. So once I have the title — everyone’s gonna say ‘yes’. We will see, I think it’s going to be — if I put money on it, I think it’s gonna Conor, I think he makes some adjustments — some very small, minor adjustments and he gets the win in that trilogy. At least, that’s what I’m believing, and that’s what my mindset is if I think about who’s gonna win that fight.“
Speaking with Helen Yee recently, Chandler spoke about the potential creation of ‘The McGregor Belt’ — asking for the championship to be up for grabs in a predicted winter showcase against the Dubliner.
“I love it, man,” Chandler said. “It’s Conor (McGregor) being Conor. Listen, you can say what you want about Conor but the dude’s the biggest combat sports icon on the planet. Not just right now but he has been for a while and he will be for the foreseeable future. I don’t think it is going to happen but I think it’s kind of a cool idea and I love the prospect of him beating Dustin Poirier and me putting my belt on the line, November or December, and him putting ‘The Conor McGregor belt’ on the line in November or December.“
“I’d love a (Philipe) Patek rare belt sitting on my mantle to add to my collection,” Chandler said. “I want to share the Octagon with Conor McGregor sooner or later, eventually before I retire. So we’ll see if it happens after I beat Charles Oliveira. How many fights it will take? We’ll see.“