Michael Chandler wants to give the fans what they want to see, but the ball is in Justin Gaethje’s court.
The former three-time Bellator lightweight champion believes a matchup with Gaethje is ‘probably the biggest fan favorite fight on the planet right now’ and has been on the ‘tips of the UFC’s tongue’ since he first signed with the promotion last year.
“I think Gaethje-Chandler is probably the biggest fan favorite fight on the entire planet right now,” Chandler told MMA Fighting. “I think he becomes a part of my highlight reel or I become a part of his highlight reel and both of us come forward and enjoy a good old fashioned, passionate scrap. That’s how he’s wired. That’s how I’m wired.”
“Justin Gaethje been on the tips of the UFC’s tongue, our tongue, myself and my management, since we signed with the UFC. It just hasn’t worked out that way for numerous different reasons.”
Chandler is looking to rebound from his TKO loss to Charles Oliveira at UFC 262 and believes most fans are ‘chomping at the bit’ to see him return to the Octagon against Gaethje, who is considered one of the most entertaining fighters in the world today.
“All I know, the top five in the UFC is aplenty when it comes to talent and that’s a fight that I would welcome. It’s just got to make sense on the timeline and I tell you what, people will be chomping at the bit to see that fight.”
Chandler is currently ranked #4 in the UFC lightweight rankings, while Gaethje is ranked #2. The latter hasn’t fought since his submission loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 254, which saw his four-fight win streak come to an abrupt and violent end.