Michael Chandler says he’s always had the ability to cut incredible promos on the microphone, but he wanted to wait until he got into the UFC before he unleashed them.
Chandler faced Tony Ferguson in the featured bout of UFC 274 and landed a ferocious front kick knockout shot to the former interim champion. Following the bout, the former Bellator lightweight champion called for fights with the winner of the main event of the card — Charles Oliveira or Justin Gaethje — or a matchup with the biggest star in the sport, Conor McGregor.
On The MMA Hour, Chandler was asked where that skill came from.
“I wasn’t legitimately putting myself in the position to be the No. 1 fighter in the world, therefore, I didn’t want to show my complete skill set,” Chandler said on The MMA Hour. “It’s hard because I don’t want to ever speak about Bellator, or where I was previously, in a non-positive light. I love Bellator, I love Scott Coker, I loved that I came up in that organization. But it’s really hard to cut a promo like that and talk about becoming the best fighter in the world when you’re not fighting the best fighters in the world.
“Sorry, Bellator does not have the best fighters in the world. There might be one or two outliers within that organization, but it’s just the truth.”
There’s no ill-will at all between Chandler, Coker, and Bellator. For the one-time UFC title challenger, even though he suffered losses on his road to signing with the UFC in 2020, he just didn’t feel the platform was big enough share his somewhat unknown gift of entertainment value.
“I got a text on my phone from Scott Coker right now, he and I still speak and we are as close as they come,” Chandler explained. “I’m very thankful for my history in the organization, but it’s really hard to get on a microphone and tell people I’m the most entertaining fighter in the world when I’m not fighting in the premier organization. We can all admit — and if you don’t admit, you’re either a hater or you don’t know the sport — that the UFC is the premier organization. The fighters in the UFC are the premier fighters on the planet.
“That’s where it’s come from, that’s where I realized that all of the eyeballs, all the lights, all the cameras are on me, because I’m fighting at the highest level and that’s where you break out the extra wrinkles in your game.”
An animated Chandler screamed about the three names he would hope to share the octagon with next at UFC 274, although there has been a bit of a flip-flop after the way the event concluded. With Oliveira stopping Gaethje in the first round, “Do Bronx” is now the No. 1 contender for the championship and will face an opponent to be determined for the vacant title later this year.
With Oliveira and McGregor still remaining, another name has entered the conversation, Nate Diaz.
“I knew I wanted to talk about Charles. because everyone wants to see me rematch Charles. I knew I was going to talk about Gaethje in case he had won, and I knew I wanted to talk about Conor because I’m the most electrifying and entertaining guy in the sport,” Chandler explained. “It would be a huge pay-per-view if he comes back, and now everybody’s talking about me and Diaz — which I thought would be a phenomenal fight for the last year or so, so it’ll be interesting. There’s some big fights on the horizon.
“My goal is still to win that title so I feel like I could still be next for Charles or maybe [Islam] Makhachev gets that title shot, but if that’s the case I still have some big fights ahead of me.”