Throughout his mixed martial arts career, two-time Bellator lightweight champion Michael Chandler has stood out for his positivity.
In an environment which often seems a race to the bottom in terms of trash talk and bluster, Chandler manages to exude positive vibes in a manner which sets himself apart from his peers.
Even when he’s engaged in fierce rivalries, such as his all-time great pair of fights with Eddie Alvarez and his matchups with Will Brooks, Chandler has by and large managed to keep it professional and keep it from getting personal outside the cage.
Brent Primus, however, is a different story.
Primus took the lightweight title from Chandler via injury TKO las year at Bellator NYC after Chandler suffered a freakish leg injury. The result is widely regarded as a fluke, a feeling which has been underscored by the fact that the bout was held nearly 18 months ago, but the champion has not fought since.
As Chandler sees it, Primus is behaving in an unprofessional manner, and that’s why he has an obvious contempt for Primus which he didn’t have with his other opponents.
“Let’s call a spade a spade, this is a world-class mixed martial artist going out there and fighting a guy who can’t even hold his opponent’s jockstrap,” Chandler said on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour with Luke Thomas. “That’s what this is.”
Fortunately for Chandler, he’s finally about to get his chance to get the long-awaited rematch with Primus, as the duo headline Bellator 212 at the Blaisdell Center in Honolulu on Dec. 14. That it’s taken this long to put on the rematch -- and had to take multiple fights in the meantime in order to stay active -- only underscores why he can’t wait for the fight date to arrive.
“Most of the time, you have that kind of scenario happen, an injury, a win by the result of an injury, most of the time you have an immediate rematch, right?” Chandler asked. “And we begged for a fight. I begged for the fight and we just couldn’t make it happen. I fought the highest-touted prospect in the lightweight division in Goiti Yamauchi and beat him within an inch of his life and then went out and finished Brandon Girtz, all the while begging to get his fight back.”
Now that he’s finally gotten his opportunity to get his opponent back in the cage, Chandler says you’re going to see a side of him that’s never before been seen.
“There’s nothing of substance that he can say because he is a part-time fighter and he doesn’t fight a lot and he doesn’t deserve to step in the cage with me,” Chandler said. “So I decided over this training camp there’s really not much to say about him besides the fact I want to go out there, and I’ve never wanted to inflict bodily harm on another individual as I do for this fight. I’ve always wanted to win. I’ve always wanted to be dominant. I’ve always wanted to score points. I’ve always wanted to be dominant, but I’ve never actually wanted to beat someone within an inch of their life and watch them gasp for air, and question their whole entire life. This is that fight, this is the fight that’s going to happen.”
Chandler, who has split his training camp between his home gym in Nashville and training with the likes of Henri Hooft in Florida, believes he’s been doing Primus favors. After all, by getting associated with Chandler, Primus has been able to fight in Madison Square Garden and will now take a trip to Hawaii.
“He’s put himself in a great situation,” Chandler said. “I gave him the opportunity to fight at Madison Square Garden, the most iconic arena in the entire world, and he was able to get out there and get a (makes air quotes) ’win’ over me biggest stage free in the biggest stage of both of our lives. And now he gets the opportunity to have a free Hawaiian vacation. He just has to get beat up to earn it.”
In case the point isn’t clear by now, Chandler, who is on a run of six wins in his past seven fights heading into the Hawaiian showdown, just doesn’t like Brent Primus.
“The fact he’s been sitting up in Oregon, it’s a travesty,” Chandler said. “He’s holding up the division. He needs to step in that cage, take his beating like a man, and just think that’s just what needs to happen. It’s going to be violent.”