SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Michael Chandler is one of the highest profile fighters to hit MMA free agency in some time. The former lightweight champ is expecting a quick resolution and a boatload of money.
Chandler, 32, has been without a Bellator MMA contract since earlier this year when he successfully fought out his deal. There is no shortage of suitors for Chandler who called the free agency process “exciting” but also knows that this is one of the biggest decisions of his professional career.
“Business is business,” Chandler told LowkickMMA and other media in attendance. “No. 1, I know my worth. No. 2, I know exactly what I’m fighting for. No. 3, I know exactly how good I am. I truly think I’m the best lightweight in the world, and I don’t think there’s anybody that can convince me otherwise. With that comes a lot of layered decision-making.”
Chandler is one of the most prolific fighters in Bellator’s history. He has the second most fights in promotion history with 19, and he is tied for the most wins in the promotion’s history with 15. Despite Chandler’s accolades, Bellator has not been able to take advantage of the exclusive negotiation period with him. However, a person with knowledge of the situation stated that the promotion is taking the necessary steps to resign Chandler.
“At the end of the day, nothing is more important to me than my wife and my son and my legacy,” Chandler said. “I’ve always said that. Whoever was going to take better care of me, whoever is going to be there and taking care of me better was going to be who I was going to end up getting a deal done with. At this point, there are no deals done, and we will see what happens.”
“It all goes back to knowing your worth, realizing that I have been in this organization longer than anybody. I do have the most wins in Bellator history. I have been in the hands-down the most exciting fights in Bellator history. Bellator would not be where they are without the fights that I’ve had, without being one of the faces of the promotion, being one of the guys who goes out there and literally never disappoints. … With that and with the damage that I’ve taken and with the value that I bring into each and every second stepping into the cage, whether with Bellator or another organization, I have to take that into account.”
Chandler believes he is the best 155-pound fighter in the world. A claim that will be easier to prove if he signs with the UFC. However, Chandler has stated that his family comes first and as such, will ultimately determine where he fights.
Watch Michael Chandler’s full interview here: