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Michael Chandler vs. Tony Ferguson targeted for UFC 274

UFC 268: Gaethje v Chandler Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

An exciting battle between two popular UFC lightweights is in the works for May.

Multiple people with knowledge of the promotion’s plans confirmed to MMA Fighting’s Damon Martin that a matchup between Michael Chandler and Tony Ferguson is being targeted for UFC 274, which takes place May 7 in Phoenix, Ariz. Agreements are in place for the contest with contracts expected to be signed soon.

UFC president Dana White revealed in January that the UFC was working on pairing Chandler and Ferguson together, while Sports Illustrated first reported the date of the booking.

After making a huge impact in his octagon debut — a first-round stoppage of Dan Hooker at UFC 257 — Chandler will look to get back on track after dropping being on the wrong end of two barnburners. The No. 6 ranked fighter in MMA Fighting’s Global Rankings was seconds away from becoming the UFC lightweight champion at UFC 262 before Charles Oliveira came back to finish Chandler in the second round. “Iron” went on to compete in MMA Fighting’s 2021 Fight of the Year and dropped a unanimous decision to Justin Gaethje at UFC 268.

Ferguson seeks his first victory in nearly three years. “El Cucuy” has lost three straight fights in lopsided fashion to Gaethje, Oliveira, and Beneil Dariush. The No. 7 ranked fighter in MMA Fighting’s Global Rankings, and former interim lightweight champion, last hand his hand raised following a doctor’s stoppage TKO win over Donald Cerrone at UFC 238 in June 2019.

Oliveira and Gaethje will fight for the 155-pound world championship in the main event of UFC 274.