The bulk of the headlines coming out of UFC 257 will center around Dustin Poirier’s upset victory over Conor McGregor (as well they should) but in the co-main event, Michael Chandler did everything he could to steal the show. And though he might not have quite pulled it off, Chandler did impress his new boss, Dana White.
The former three-time Bellator lightweight champion signed with the UFC last year and made his promotional debut to much fanfare against Dan Hooker on Saturday. Going into the fight, much was made of the jump in competition between Bellator and the UFC and even Chandler himself called Hooker one of his toughest matchups in the organization, one he took because Hooker was the only top guy who would even agree to fight him. But when the cage door closed on Saturday, Chandler made quick work of Hooker, knocking him out halfway through the first round. Afterwards, Chandler jumped on the microphone and cut a promo on the two main event fighters and current lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. It was an all-around sensational debut and one that got Dana White’s attention.
“When guys come into the UFC for the first time, they usually have a rough first time on the big stage,” White said at the post-fight press conference. “He didn’t. He came out and it almost seemed like Hooker froze in that first round. Chandler was just all over him and put on an incredible performance. Listen, man, when you get the platform we had tonight, you make the most of it, and that kid did. Some people did tonight and some didn’t.”
So impressive was Chandler’s debut that immediately afterwards the MMA community began questioning if it was the most impressive one in UFC history and when asked the question, White struggled to think of one better.
“That kid fought like he’s been here for years,” White said. “So yeah, off the top of my head I can’t remember a better one.”
Whether or not it’s the best debut ever is a matter of opinion but Chandler has certainly put himself in the conversation with guys like Anderson Silva, Junior dos Santos, Ronda rousey, and Joe Lauzon. It wasn’t, however, perfect. At least not to White.
Following his victory, Chandler climbed to the top of the cage and performed a backflip off of it, nearly missing his landing and stumbling across the cage.
It was a celebration that White lamented when discussing Chandler’s debut.
“Do you guys hate the backflips as much as I hate the backflips?” White asked, unprompted. “They just f*cking — the kid gets his fight in the UFC and then does a backflip that looks like it’s gonna blow out both f*cking ankles, knees, and his spine. I just, I don’t get the backflip thing and I don’t like it. Somebody’s gonna get f*cking hurt doing that.”
Fortunately, Chandler did not injure himself and now will look to build off the momentum of his sensational debut, either with a title shot or another big fight. Now that he has a top-10 win inside the UFC, there will be no shortage of options.
Results. Dustin Poirier and Michael Chandler scored big knockouts at UFC 257.
Leg kicks. Conor McGregor’s leg ‘completely dead’, ‘like an American football’ after Dustin Poirier’s kicks at UFC 257.
Guarantee. After UFC 257 triumph, Dustin Poirier guarantees ‘I won’t be fighting Michael Chandler’ next.
Fire meme. Dana White downplays UFC 257 live streaming issues, calls event ‘a really good night’.
Schadenfreude. Khabib Nurmagomedov reacts to Conor McGregor’s knockout loss to Dustin Poirier at UFC 257.
Beef. Conor McGregor fires back at Khabib Nurmagomedov over ‘disrespectful comments’ made after UFC 257.
Next. Dana White on Conor McGregor’s future after knockout loss: ‘There’s two ways this goes … hungrier, or I’m done’.
UFC 257 Post Show.
UFC 257 Post-Fight Press Conference.
Backstage with Poirier post fight.
BJJ Scout drops a breakdown.
Road to Knucklemania.
On to the Next One. Matchmaking for the UFC following UFC 257.
Severe MMA. Discussing the fallout from UFC 257.
SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
Feels like a goodbye.
These guys all get finished all the time ♂️— Nathan Diaz (@NateDiaz209) January 24, 2021
I’m training to whoop ur ass next.— Nathan Diaz (@NateDiaz209) January 24, 2021
Be about it don’t talk about it pic.twitter.com/M7FKHvIbFu
From the dude that only talks about it. https://t.co/9Ak7snW7pn— Justin Gaethje (@Justin_Gaethje) January 24, 2021
Good Fight But You Dodged Me Kid. # SeeYouSoon -Champ ⚔️ -CSO- pic.twitter.com/KhC0ITMPi8— Tony Ferguson (@TonyFergusonXT) January 25, 2021
Damn. Serious. And farewell.
Eddie Alvarez (30-7, 1 NC) vs. Iuri Lapicus (14-1); ONE Championship, April 7.
There is not a person in MMA who deserved that more than Dustin Poirier. One of the really good guys in the sport and that was a great win. Shame it wasn’t for the belt.
Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.
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