Michael Chandler Suggests Co-Main Event Matchup With Tony Ferguson At UFC 257
By Ross Markey
Continously linked with a promotional bow opposite former interim UFC lightweight titleholder, Tony ‘El Cucuy’ Ferguson possibly as soon as December, former three-time Bellator 155-pound champion, Michael Chandler has now floated the possibility of a matchup with Ferguson at UFC 257 on January 23rd.
Chandler, who put pen to paper on a multi-fight deal with the UFC earlier this year after a ten-year stay with the above-mentioned, Scott Coker led Bellator MMA, and has yet to be paired for his official promotional bow.
Making the trip to Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, UAE for UFC 254 in October, Chandler hit the scales at lightweight championship weight, providing backup for the main event title unification clash of subsequent winner, Khabib ‘The Eagle’ Nurmagomedov, and Justin ‘The Highlight’ Gaethje.
The Sanford MMA product has along with 10th. Planet Jiu-Jitsu black belt, Ferguson, voiced their respective interests in a matchup, however, according to Chandler, he’s not interested in fighting the Californian this side of 2020 – suggesting a potential return to ‘Fight Island’ for UFC 257 on January 23rd which is expected to be headlined by a high-stakes lightweight rematch between Dustin ‘The Diamond’ Poirier, and ‘The Notorious’ Conor McGregor.
“There is a zero per cent chance I’ll fight Tony Ferguson in December,” Chandler told ESPN MMA reporter, Brett Okamoto, recently. “And I one-hundred per cent know he knew that, because the UFC already told him that, and I’ve already said I’ll see him in January. Now that we have Conor (McGregor) fighting Dustin (Poirier) – it looks like that fight will get booked on January 23rd. – they need a co-main event. Why wouldn’t it be Chandler vs. Ferguson.”
Chandler went on to explain how Ferguson had the opportunity to clash with him in October, an opportunity, according to the Missouri native, was one he rejected.
“The UFC didn’t offer me the fight in December, because they know I’m on a timeline now,” Chandler said. “I just made weight in October. Everybody knows I’m an active fighter and I’m constantly training, but I needed just four weeks off. Essentially, Tony is campaigning for us to fight in three and a half weeks.”
“Tony, you had the opportunity to fight me in October and you said no,” Chandler told. “You didn’t even bring up fighting in December until it was way past the eleventh hour. Let’s be realistic and sign up for January 23rd. If you think you still have what it takes to fight for a title, fight me on January 23rd. Why not take that opportunity, instead of muddying the water with this silly stuff.”
In a late-night response to Chandler, former interim best, Ferguson took to his official Twitter account – where he claimed the former had already accepted another bout offer from the promotion, against a different opponent.
“@ufc has said you have already accepted another fight ese! So @MikeChandlerMMA stop crying to @espnmma about fighting me. You want to compete against me I’ll be in Vegas December 12th. Accept or we move on. -champ sh*t onlyTM kid. F’kn #AmateurHour # BeGon’Thot”