Michael Chandler doesn’t think he’s too far from another UFC title fight.
The former Bellator champion and top UFC lightweight contender believes if all goes well in his next outing, he could be challenging once again for the UFC belt in the near future. Chandler (23-7 MMA, 2-2 UFC) takes on Dustin Poirier (28-7 MMA, 20-6 UFC) at UFC 281 on Nov. 12 in Madison Square Garden in New York.
If victorious, Chandler would be on a two-fight winning streak since dropping a decision loss to Justin Gaethje in MMA Junkie’s 2021 Fight of the Year.
“I still have my sight set on becoming world champion,” Chandler said on The MMA Hour. “I think I beat Dustin on Nov. 12, I think I’m the next guy in line.
“I fight Islam or Oliveira first quarter of next year of summer or next year, whenever that fight materializes, and I’m your world champion by middle of next year.”
The UFC lightweight belt will be up for grabs in October when Charles Oliveira meets Islam Makhachev in the main event of UFC 280 in Abu Dhabi.
Chandler is shocked that Makhachev is considered the favorite going in the fight, as he expects to be rematching Oliveira for the belt sometime next year.
“I think Charles wins that fight,” Chandler said. “I think it’s crazy that Islam is the favorite. Aside from Charles Oliveira not making weight last fight, which was unprofessional – and I think even him will admit that and it’s not indicative of the way a champion carries himself – it’s tough to make weight at times and he missed it. But aside from that, he’s looked very very good, finishing guys.
“His hands have come a long way and just his overall confidence. The overall confidence Charles Oliveira has now compared to a couple of years ago, as I said before, somewhat looking at becoming somewhat of a journeyman. Up and down, couldn’t be relied upon putting together good performances. He’s now turned that ship around and he’s our champion – well not technically our champion, but in everyone’s eyes, he’s our champion for a reason. I think he goes out there and beats Islam handedly.”