During his segment on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show, Michael “Iron” Chandler, broke headlines as he announced he was recently offered to fight an undisclosed opponent at UFC 258 on February 13th.
The former 3X Bellator Lightweight Champion wouldn’t directly state who the opponent was, but he did mention he was ranked above him.
Considering Chandler is currently ranked fourth in the most recently updated UFC lightweight rankings, the only contenders ranked above him are Dustin Poirier, Justin Gaethje, and Charles Oliveira.
Poirier already stated he wouldn’t fight Chandler next under any circumstances, and Gaethje made it perfectly clear that he is not open to any short-notice fights, and would require a long training camp in preperation for his next bout.
That leaves only one man: Charles “Do Bronx” Oliveira. Unfortunately, Oliveira turned down the fight, demanding that his next fight be for the lightweight title.
Chandler is coming off a near perfect UFC debut, as he disposed of top lightweight contender, Dan Hooker, in under three minutes via TKO, a man who went the twenty-five minute distance with both Dustin Poirier and Paul Felder.
Going into the Contest as an underdog, few expected the fight to go the way it did, as Chandler is primarily known as a wrestler, whereas Hooker is a very technical striker with what had seemed to be a granite chin. A lot of people doubted Chandler’s ability to compete with the sport’s top competition, as he had previously never fought inside the UFC octagon. Fortunately for Chandler, he managed to prove these doubters wrong and after just one fight is a clear top five contender. Chandler says he accepted the fight with Oliveira and was eager to get back inside the cage.
He was disappointed the fight never came to fruition, and now expects a summer return to the octagon.
Former teammates, Kamaru Usman and Gilbert Burns, are set to compete for the welterweight championship in the main event of UFC 258 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The co-main event was originally intended to be a rematch between number nine ranked middleweight contender, Uriah Hall, and former UFC Middleweight Champion, Chris Weidman. However, Weidman tested positive for COVID-19, and the fight was rescheduled for UFC 261 on April 24th.
The UFC is yet to announce the co-main event for UFC 258. Other fights on the card include Maycee Barber vs Alexa Grasso, Kelvin Gastelum vs Ian Heinisch, and a rematch between Pedro Munhoz and Jimmie Rivera.