Booked to headline UFC 262 on May 15. — former three-time Bellator lightweight best, Michael Chandler will challenge for vacant lightweight gold in just his second Octagon walk, facing off for the undisputed title against the #3 ranked submission ace, Charles Oliveira.
Landing in the promotion at UFC 257 on ‘Fight Island’ in January, Chandler scored an opening round knockout win over 155-pound striking mainstay, Dan Hooker — and ahead of his Houston, Texas showdown with Oliveira, envisions a similar finish coming against the Brazilian.
Riding a three-fight rise into the showcase, Chandler finally inked a multi-fight deal with the UFC last year following a ten-year stay under the Scott Coker Bellator led banner, bringing with him two consecutive knockout wins over former WEC and UFC lightweight best, Benson Henderson, and Dana White’s Contender Series alum, Sidney Outlaw.
Speaking with TMZ Sports recently ahead of his May 15. Toyota Centre main event, Chandler explained that he plans on putting Oliveira in “panic mode” ahead of knocking the Sao Paulo grappler out in the opening frame.
“Charles Oliveira poses a lot of threats on the ground, but I’ve never even come close to getting submitted,” Chandler said. “I’ve got kind of a sixth sense when it comes to the ground game to not be submitted. The best way I would like to go out there and finish him is just to hit him as hard as I can, numerous times on the feet. Keep the fight standing, put him in panic mode, (and) knock him out in the first round“
“If not the first round, dig a little deeper and go into the second, go into the third,” Chandler explained. “He’s (Oliveira) a guy who starts to slow down, especially once you start putting the pressure on him. I’m very good at keeping my foot on the gas for twenty-five minutes, I’ve done it a dozen times now. So, man, go out there and knock him out in the first or second round, get my hand raised in front of a huge Houston (, Texas) crowd on May 15., collect my paycheck, kiss my wife, and figure out what’s next.“
Whilst Chandler claimed he’d figure out his next Octagon outing afterward, he’s already predicted he’ll stop Oliveira, and make his first attempted lightweight title defence against former two-weight champion, Conor McGregor in the fall or winter — predicting the Dubliner will overcome Dustin Poirier in an expected July 10. rubber-match.
“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.“