But outside of their initial encounter at Bellator NYC in June of last year, it’s primarily been a war of words, and that’s been a frustrating situation for both men. For Chandler, he’s been wanting to regain the Bellator lightweight title that he’s held on two other occasions; for Primus, he’s seeking a measure of respect after picking up a TKO victory over Chandler that was decried as a fluke in some circles due to Chandler being rendered unable to continue due to an ankle injury (Primus has insisted that attacking Chandler’s leg was part of his strategy and that the finish was no accident).
Whatever the case may be, the two are running it back this Friday in the main event of Bellator 212 at the Neal S. Blaisdell Center in Honolulu, a booking that became official only after a year-and-a-half of back-and-forth between the two fighters and an April booking that was spoiled by an injury to Primus.
Fully healthy now, Primus recently told MMA Fighting that the time out of competition has worn on him and that he can’t wait to put this business with Chandler behind him.
“Not getting paid. Not fighting. It’s been hell,” Primus said. “I did get injured one time, I was only out for a couple of months and other than that I’ve been hearing, ‘You’ll be fighting next week, next month, next month,’ and I’ve been hearing that for so long and they said they’ve been waiting on Chandler and it’s just been a crazy ordeal.”
“I’m more than happy,” he continued. “I’m so excited we’re finally getting on and all that is behind us now. Once I beat Chandler, he’ll be behind me too.”
On separate occasions, both Primus and Chandler have accused the other of being responsible for avoiding their rematch. As recently as September, Primus claimed that he had signed a contract and was waiting for the recently re-signed Chandler to make things official. Less than a month later, they were booked for Bellator 212.
That’s left the door open for the trash talk to continue and Chandler fired off another volley during a recent appearance on The MMA Hour, boasting that compared to himself Primus is “a guy who can’t even hold his opponent’s jockstrap” and that he’s “never actually wanted to beat someone within an inch of their life” until this rematch.
Informed of these comments, Primus responded with a shrug.
“He can say whatever he wants,” Primus said. “Reality is reality. He can say what he wants and that’s cool, I really don’t care. I’m not paying attention to him or paying attention to what he says. I’m just going to go out there and stick to my gameplan and trust what my coaches do and what they’ve been teaching me and that’s all it is. I really couldn’t care less what that guy says.”
Reality has been a strange for Primus, 33, who has had to sit on the sidelines as Chandler continued to thrive in the lightweight division. The former champion notched dominant wins over Goiti Yamauchi and Brandon Girtz (who replaced Primus at Bellator 197) before entering free agency, and Primus found himself having to both root for Chandler to win and that his rival would stay with the promotion so that their rematch could still happen.
Unbeaten in eight pro bouts, Primus is hoping that a second win over Chandler will finally get him the respect he deserves and he plans to bury the hatchet after Bellator 212, even if he doesn’t expect Chandler to do the same.
“As much as I don’t like the guy — he’s been talking so much crap and just lying and saying this and that and really just making up so much stuff — I used to respect that guy. I watched him fight before I even got into this. At the same time, after I go out there and smash him, I’ll definitely buy him a drink if he wants to. After our last fight, I went up to him and I tried shaking his head. I said, ‘Let’s get the rematch going, let’s do this.’ He wouldn’t shake my hand, he wouldn’t acknowledge me, he’s just a grumpy little turd. He’s a punk. My cornermen and my manager tried to go shake his team’s hand and they won’t have anything to do with me and I think that’s so funny because before we fought he was all about, ‘Oh, I respect Brent, he was just like me when I started a few years ago and he’s a tough guy and it’s going to be a great fight,’ and as soon as I win everything changes.
“He doesn’t know how to lose. They say, ‘win like a champion, lose like a champion.’ He can win like a champion, but he does not know how to lose like a champion. I think his true colors came out — actually, I think the best thing for that guy would be to put a gi on and go to class and get choked out and learn some respect. It will humble him, to bow to his opponents, to bow to his instructors and his teammates, I think that guy should put a gi on and get choked out. I’d love to put a gi on and have him put a gi on, I would choke the living crap out of that dude over and over and over. He’s a little shithead.”