Prior to Makhachev’s vacant lightweight title fight against Charles Oliveira at UFC 280, Chandler thought the Dagestani native wasn’t as good as many hyped him up to be. However, Makhachev proved many doubters wrong as he dominated the fight from start to finish and submitted Oliveira in the second round.
Michael Chandler has previously fought the Champion Charles Oliveira and fell short by TKO in the second.
Michael Chandler Corrects Himself
Now, following the win, Chandler admits Makhachev is the real deal and says he was wrong about him.
“Islam is the real deal,” Chandler said in an interview with MMA On Point (h/t MMAJunkie). “I think when I was asked before about it, my answer, I stand behind it. Islam hadn’t fought anybody in that top five and not necessarily just that, but it was the fact that Charles had looked so dominant, as well … Charles ran through, what, four guys? He fought me then he beat (Dustin) Poirier and beat (Justin) Gaethje.
“You’re talking the who’s who of the top three, top five guys, and the impressiveness in the nature in which he was finishing guys, he just looked awesome,” Chandler continued. “Islam came out there and showed that he was a force to be reckoned with on the feet, obviously a force to be reckoned with on the ground, and caught Charles in that choke, and we have a new champion, and his name is Islam.”
With Islam Makhachev winning the title, his first title defense will likely come against Alexander Volkanovski. He has a ton of confidence he will beat the Aussie and the hope for Michael Chandler is he beats Dustin Poirier at UFC 281 and gets a crack at Makhachev next time out.
Chandler wants to see how good Makhachev really is and even though he admits he was wrong, he’s still confident he would beat him.
“Islam proved that he was who he said he was,” Chandler said. “I stand corrected. He’s our champion, and I hope I can go out there on November 12th, can win my fight, and get that title shot soon.”
How do you think a potential matchup between Islam Makhachev and Michael Chandler would go?