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Chandler reflects on loss to Gaethje: ‘I don’t want to fight that way ever again’

“I don’t want to fight that way ever again, but 95% of the fight was just a good ol’ fashioned passionate scrap, you know?”

UFC 268: Burgos v Quarantillo
Michael Chandler prepares to battle Justin Gaethje in the third and final round of their epic lightweight showdown at the UFC 268 PPV in New York City.
Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Michael Chandler and Justin Gaethje put on a fight for the ages at UFC 268, but ‘Iron’ Mike won’t fight so recklessly ever again.

Chandler, 35, lost the fight via unanimous decision but put on one hell of a show for the fans. The Sanford MMA product had his opponent hurt on several occasions and believes he would have won the fight had he been more tactical and cool-headed.

“I don’t want to fight that way ever again, but 95% of the fight was just a good ol’ fashioned passionate scrap, you know?” Chandler said during a recent appearance on Bussin’ With The Boys (h/t Nicole Bosco of MMA News). “5% of it was a little bit of, ‘Dude, what are you doing, man?’ Of course, I’ve gotten criticism like, ‘Hey, if you would have been a little more tactical and not try to put on a show, you would have won the fight.”

“But truthfully, I’m not just saying this. This sounds like something a loser of a fight would say,” he continued. “But it’s very genuine when I say it was the first time in my career Mike Beltran, the referee, grabbed my wrist, and it was that moment when I was about to get my hand raised or keep it down while my opponent got his hand raised or kept it down. And at that moment, when he grabbed my wrist, I was like, ‘Oh, shoot. There’s gonna be a winner and a loser right now.’ First time in my life.’”

Chandler admits that he got a little ‘caught up in the moment’ and was too busy trying to wow the fans rather than win the fight.

The former three-time Bellator lightweight champ is 1-2 since making his UFC debut earlier this year and is currently #5 in the UFC lightweight rankings.