"Iron" sharpens "Showtime?"
Former Bellator lightweight champion Michael Chandler is considering an opportunity to train with Anthony Pettis at Roufusport, he told MMA Fighting in a recent interview. Chandler, who said he has spoken about it with Duke Roufus, would not be leaving his new gym, Power MMA in Arizona, but he could spend some time in Milwaukee for Pettis' training camp in preparation for Eddie Alvarez.
Of course, Chandler knows Alvarez better than anyone. Those two had a pair of the greatest fights in Bellator history with that promotion's lightweight title on the line in 2011 and 2013. Chandler won the first by fourth-round submission and Alvarez won the second by a very close split decision.
"Nobody has spent more time in the cage with Eddie Alvarez than I have," Chandler said. "Nobody has finished him like I did. Quite frankly, I think I won the second fight, too."
Chandler (13-3) will not make the decision to head to Roufusport until after his fight with David Rickels at Bellator 145 on Friday night in St. Louis. He has no problem helping out Pettis, but that's not all he wants to get out of being at Roufusport. Chandler is hoping to get some good striking training from Duke Roufus with an eye toward a possible rematch with Bellator lightweight champion Will Brooks and also work with his former University of Missouri wrestling teammate Ben Askren.
"If I was just gonna go up there and train with them and I wouldn't get any benefit from it, no offense to anybody, but I'm not a training partner," Chandler said. "I'm not gonna do that. But I could get to spend time with Ben. I would get some great training under Duke Roufus, who I would like to train with."
Chandler, 29, has another reason for wanting make the trek up to Milwaukee and it's not because he's a fan of beer and brats. "Iron Michael" has spent just about his entire career with Bellator, some it while he was regarded as one of the top five or so lightweights on the planet. He has not, however, gotten a chance to test himself among the elite in the UFC, the world's biggest MMA promotion.
Going at it every day in practice with Pettis would at least give Chandler an indication of where he stands among the very best on Earth in his weight class.
"I like where I'm at in Bellator," Chandler said. "They've invested in me and they've taken great care of me. I'm not sitting here saying I'm gonna be with Bellator for the remainder of my career. But I'm leaning in that direction. So I'm gonna need to get out there and beat some of these UFC dudes. Word needs to get out that I'm the best lightweight in the world. Sometimes I'm just gonna have to go and train with them and beat them up in sparring."