It seems Michael Chandler is angling for a fight with Justin Gaethje but insists the top lightweight has declined the fight on a number of occasions.
“The Highlight” has not fought since he lost to Khabib Nurmagomedov in October of 2020. Following the break-neck pace to the fight between Gaethje and “The Eagle”, it appeared Gaethje’s leg kicks were beginning to take a toll on the Russian legend.
However, in typical fashion, Nurmagomedov practiced patience inside the Octagon and initiated grappling entanglements that left Gaethje bewildered by the end of the first round. While the 32-year old American had his moments, for most, it was clear that the pressure of Nurmagomedov was starting to wear on the former interim champion.
After losing by a triangle submission early in the second round, Gaethje has yet to step back into the cage, but that will change if Chandler has anything to say about it. In fact, the former title challenger insists that he’s been trying to get the Gaethje fight for quite some time.
“He’s been asked to fight me three or four different times,” Chandler said in an interview with The Mac Life. “Every time he’s declined. He and I are ranked two spots away from each other. He has not fought since last October. He needs to get a fight in if he thinks he’s gonna fight for the title.”
Michael Chandler Doubles Down On Gaethje Call Out
Conversely, Chandler also fell short in his title opportunity when he had a chance to capture the vacant gold Nurmagomedov left behind. In summation, Charles Oliveira showed championship material and came back to TKO Chandler in the second round after clearly being dominated in the first.
According to sources on Gaethje’s side, the fight was supposed to happen at UFC 261 but fell apart after Chandler was offered to fight for the title.
“For some reason, him and his camp have no interest in fighting me,” Chandler continued. “So, that’s the fight I want. That’s the way it should be – two of the best guys fighting. It’s also a fight that I know the fans want to see.” Justin Gaethje said before UFC 262.
Apparently, Gaethje’s manager affirmed with multiple news outlets that he believes that Michael Chandler does not deserve ‘anything’. Time will tell if we see these two crowd-pleasers finally sling leather inside the Octagon.
Who would you favor in a fight between “Iron” Michael Chandler and Justin Gaethje?