Michael Chandler to test free agency, targets opponents in UFC and ONE

Michael Chandler, Benson Henderson

Former Bellator lightweight champion Michael Chandler will test free agency after his next fight and is targeting opponents in the UFC and ONE Championship.

Chandler is one of the best home-grown Bellator fighters of all time and is a three-time lightweight champion in the promotion. He has one more fight left on his contract with the promotion against Benson Henderson and will become a free agent afterward.

Speaking to ESPN, Chandler said that after the Henderson fight he will test the free-agent market, and he’s already targeting matchups against some of the best fighters in the UFC and ONE.

“We have had some talks, but it looks like I’m going to be a free agent after this fight. I would love nothing more than to finish my career and retire as a Bellator fighter, and I’ve told that to (Bellator president) Scott Coker, but the simple fact is they have a business to run with checks and balances, and I know my wife and son deserve to be taken care of, and I have a calling in life that might require me to go elsewhere,” Chandler said.

“I think I’m a guy who could go to (One Championship) and finish my trilogy with Eddie Alvarez or imagine me fighting guys like (UFC lightweights) Justin Gaethje or Dustin Poirier and putting on Fights of the Year. And I do think I’m the best guy to solve the puzzle of (UFC lightweight champion) Khabib Nurmagomedov.”

For years, fans have wondered how Chandler would fare against elite competition in the UFC. Well, they might finally get the chance to do that. Maybe Bellator ends up giving Chandler the deal he wants, but if not, maybe it’s finally time we’ll see him in the Octagon.

Would you like Michael Chandler to sign with the UFC or ONE or stay with Bellator?

This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 3/17/2020.