Michael Chandler Pens Deal With The UFC
By Ross Markey
Former three-time Bellator lightweight champion, Michael Chandler, has inked a deal with the UFC – following his decision to test free agency after his recent win over former Octagon gold holder, ‘Smooth’ Benson Henderson.
Chandler, 34, will link up with the Dana White led promotion, following a ten-year stint with Scott Coker’s Bellator MMA. The Missouri wrestling ace has tested free agency on multiple occasions in the past but has finally put pen to paper on a deal to join up with the UFC. Promotional president, Dana White announced the news of Chandler’s signature on Sportscentre.
The NCAA Division I wrestling ace has competed professionally since August 2009 – featuring under the now-defunct Strikeforce banner prior to his move to Bellator MMA the following year. Establishing a 21-5 résumé – the Sanford MMA trainee plys his trade alongside current UFC welterweight titleholder, Kamaru ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ Usman, as well as upcoming title challenger, Gilbert ‘Durinho’ Burns.
From those twenty-five aforenoted victories, Chandler has scored wins over the likes of the aforenoted, Henderson (x2), Sidney Outlaw, Brent Primus, Goiti Yamaguchi, Patricky ‘Pitbull’ (x2), Derek Campos, and Akihiro Gono. The three-time 155-pound gold holder was involved in one of the most infamous pair of clashes in the history of the sport, notching a win over-decorated lightweight veteran, Eddie ‘The Underground King’ Alvarez.
With his move to the UFC, Chandler follows the likes of former lightweight championship holders and foes, the aforenoted, Alvarez, as well as two-time opponent, Will Brooks.
White also confirmed that Chandler will serve as a backup for the UFC 254 headlining tie between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Justin Gaethje on October 24th on ‘Fight Island.’