UFC president, Dana White has confirmed the promotion has held talks with recent Bellator free-agent, Michael Chandler – with rumblings suggesting the former three-time lightweight champion could finally ink a deal to sign with the UFC.
Chandler, who announced his intentions to test free-agency recently, scored a second career victory over former WEC and UFC lightweight champion, ‘Smooth’ Benson Henderson at Bellator 243 at the beginning of August – finishing the MMA Lab mainstay with a first-round knockout. The victory marked Chandler’s second straight success.
The Missouri native has been linked with a move to the UFC for countless years at this stage, even during his most recent reigns at Bellator lightweight best back in 2016 and 2018.
Speaking at last night’s post-fight press conference following UFC Fight Night Vegas 10 – the above mentioned, White confirmed the promotion has had discussions with Chandler, explaining his appreciation for the wrestler as well.
“We’ve talked to (Michael) Chandler, yeah. Yeah, I like him, I like the kid so, we’ll see,” White said when asked if there was a potential for him to link up with the promotion.
With a targeted tie between former interim titleholders, Tony Ferguson and Dustin Poirier faltering at the booking stage earlier this week, White was asked if Chandler could possibly draft in for his Octagon debut opposite somebody like Ferguson at UFC 254.
“Yeah, I dunno, we’d have to see timing and see what’s available,” White said. “It’s more than just, ‘Oh is he gonna fight the number one, number two, or number three guy’. It’s all about timing.“
News of the promotion’s preliminary talks with Chandler follows a recent video posted by the 34-year-old’s Sanford MMA teammate and upcoming welterweight title challenger, Gilbert ‘Durinho’ Burns. The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt took to his official Twitter account recently, posting a video of anti-doping agency, USADA at the pair’s camp, with Burns hinting at the presence of Chandler and USADA representatives in the same building.