Ariel Helwani reported Monday on The MMA Hour that UFC 281 is “close and likely.” UFC 281 takes place Nov. 12 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Following a loss to Charles Oliveira in his second bid to become undisputed UFC lightweight champion, Poirier hinted at possibly leaving the lightweight division altogether, but time off has led the Louisiana native back to the division where he’s still ranked as one of the top fighters in the world.
Meanwhile, Chandler is coming off a potential “Knockout of the Year” after he flattened Tony Ferguson with a front kick at UFC 274 in May. The highlight-reel finish earned Chandler a “Performance of the Night” bonus and put him back in the win column after engaging in the 2021 “Fight of the Year” with Justin Gaethje.
Of course, the lightweights also recently had a run-in at UFC 276 when Poirier was shouting at Chandler as both fighters were getting to their seats for the event. Speaking to MMA Fighting on Tuesday, Chandler admitted he didn’t know why there was so much animosity between them, but he mostly chalked it up to Poirier anxiously awaiting news on his next fight.
Whatever animosity existed that night, it now appears Poirier and Chandler will get to hash out their differences in the octagon with the pair of former lightweight title contenders expected to clash later this year.