Former Bellator lightweight champion and current UFC title challenger Michael Chandler knows he will have his hands full next Saturday at UFC 262. Paired up against Charles Oliveira for a bout that will define the next king of the 155-pound division, ‘Iron Mike’ is not one to undermine his competition.
In an interview with Combate, Chander had nothing but praise for Oliveira. Fully aware of the dangers the Brazilian brings to the table, Michael will make sure not to leave any openings for ‘Do Bronx’ to capitalize on, especially on the ground.
“I’ve been practicing my jiu-jitsu, because Charles is very good,” Chandler said. “He may even be the scariest opponent I’ve ever faced in my entire career. Not only for his record number of submissions. It’s not secret that, if you give him an arm a leg, or find yourself in a triangle, you’re either sleeping or tapping. I have a wrestling background, I can be very compact. I won’t leave my neck showing for him to grab a hold of.”
Despite knowing how good Charles ground game is, Chandler hopes to find enough room to finish the fight himself, but not on the mat. Although the Brazilian’s striking has improved over the years, Michael believes that he still might be able to score an early knockout win, though he knows it will be no easy task.
“I expect a knockout in the first or the second round, but people better be ready for a 25-minute war,” Chandler said. “When you face someone like Charles, you can be staring at the worst 25 minutes of your life. He’s been undefeated for his last eight fights to fight the greatest fight of his life. It’s his chance to shine. We’ll see the best version of him. It won’t be easy, but I believe I can win.”
In his last outing, Michael Chandler (22-5) TKO’d Dan Hooker in the first round to begin his UFC career with the right foot, back in January. The victory put the 35-year-old on a three-fight winning streak, with two more KO wins, over Benson Henderson and Sidney Outlaw. Iron Mike’s last loss happened in May 2019, when he lost the Bellator lightweight title to Patricio Freire via TKO.
Now, Michael Chandler is expected to take on Charles Oliveira for the vacant lightweight title at UFC 262’s main event, in Houston, Texas, on May 15.