Michael Chandler, the former three-time Bellator lightweight world champion who recently signed a contract with the UFC, admits that he received more lucrative offers during his time as a free agent.
One of the best home-grown Bellator fighters, “Iron” Chandler made his last appearance for the promotion in August 2020 in a rematch against Benson Henderson. It saw Chandler beat Henderson for the second time.
After enjoying some time in the free-agent market, Chandler finally met his terms with the UFC after dismissing offers from Bellator, PFL, and One Championship.
“The UFC is where I wanted to land, for sure, but you are not making a smart business decision as a free agent unless you at least entertain all the offers. All the offers were great, both financially and also just the people,” Chandler said to Brendan Schaub on Food Truck Diaries. “Being able to sit across the negotiation table with PFL, with ONE Championship and continue to talk to Bellator at the same time was an interesting process. As soon as I sat in that room at the UFC offices I was like this is where I was going to end up. 72 hours later, we got the deal done.”
But the new UFC lightweight contender says it was not the money that convinced him to join the organization.
“It wasn’t the most, but it was more of a competition thing. I’ve made decisions on financial incentives many times. It worked out for me for a long time in Bellator,” Chandler explained. “Some people chase the money, some people chase the competition. Somewhere in between the two could be the best option for a lot of people. For me, the UFC offer was the right offer at the right time, and it’s the most exciting division in the entire UFC right now.”
Michael Chandler is yet to make his UFC debut
As a free-agent, Chandler took the chance to target some possible future opponents in the UFC.
“I can imagine me fighting guys like (UFC lightweights) Justin Gaethje or Dustin Poirier and putting on Fights of the Year.”
Chandler was being lined up to face Tony Ferguson in December, but since he served as the back-up fighter during UFC 254: Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Justin Gathje, he preferred to pull out from the challenge.
Dana White explained the reason Chandler opted to add further time to the delay for his long-awaited debut.
“He just cut weight in Abu Dhabi, so he couldn’t do it. You know how and what we do. We all make fights. These fights will happen, and let’s see what’s next for Chandler.”
The seasoned American fighter has pushed for top adversaries since joining the division but is yet to find an opponent and exhibit his skills in the UFC’s octagon.
Ferguson will now face Charles Oliveira at UFC 256 on 12th December, while Chandler is unlikely to be put into action this year.
Published 25 Nov 2020, 02:56 IST