Former Bellator lightweight champion Michael Chandler says he will become a free agent after his next fight.
Chandler has also revealed he is interested in exploring opportunities outside of Bellator MMA with ONE Championship and UFC, both being of options for him.
The three-time 155lb champion with Bellator will face former UFC champion Benson Henderson in his next fight. It will take place at an upcoming Bellator event on June 6 from Chicago and will be the last fight of his current contract with the promotion.
Speaking to ESPN, Chandler revealed his plan to test free-agency and also said he is open to moving to either One Championship or the UFC.
“We have had some talks, but it looks like I’m going to be a free agent after this fight. I would love nothing more than to finish my career and retire as a Bellator fighter, and I’ve told that to [Bellator President] Scott Coker. Still, the simple fact is they have a business to run with checks and balances, and I know my wife and son deserve to be taken care of, and I have a calling in life that might require me to go elsewhere.”
“I think I’m a guy who could go to [One Championship] and finish my trilogy with Eddie Alvarez or imagine me fighting guys like [UFC lightweights] Justin Gaethje or Dustin Poirier and putting on Fights of the Year. And I do think I’m the best guy to solve the puzzle of [UFC lightweight champion] Khabib Nurmagomedov.”
The 33-year-old Chandler has long been one of the most highly touted lightweights in MMA. Fans have been desperate to see him mix it with the best fighters more often. That is now a serious possibility as you’d expect the UFC to try to snap him up and add another world-class talent to their already stacked 155lb roster.
Could Michael Chandler become a title contender in the UFC?