Patricio Freire believes Michael Chandler will become the UFC lightweight champion, but that still won’t make him the sport’s best lightweight.
Freire and Chandler are easily the two most accomplished fighters in Bellator MMA history. The pair have fought once before, with Freire knocking Chandler out to capture the promotion’s featherweight belt—though many feel it was a premature stoppage.
Several years after that fight, Chandler is now a member of the UFC roster, having made a splash in his promotional debut with a first-round knockout of Dan Hooker.
Freire was impressed by Chandler’s victory over Hooker, and expects his former foe to continue with his winning ways in the Octagon. That said, he refutes that Chandler will ever be the sport’s top lightweight.
“If Dustin Poirier is [Chandler’s] next opponent, I think he wins just as easily and the exact same way,” Freire told MMA Fighting. “It will be as vicious as his debut.
“I won’t root for him, but I’m realistic and I know the damage he can do in this weight class,” Freire added. “He has powerful hands and great wrestling. He’s very aggressive. It’s hard to take him down, and he has good takedowns. He can fight anyone on the feet and has knocked out great strikers already. It will be hard to stop him.
“If he can do all that and I stopped him, how good am I? Let’s put that to test,” Freire continued. “After he becomes UFC champion, let’s put promotion against promotion to see who’s the best in the world. He was kicked out of Bellator by me. He didn’t stay there because I kicked him out.”
Freire continued, claiming that if UFC President Dana White doesn’t allow him to fight Michael Chandler in a cross-promotional superfight, he’s effectively accepting that UFC champions are inferior.
“If [White] doesn’t do it, his champion is inferior to the Bellator champion, and that’s on him and his promotion,” Freire said. “I’ll forever bother them. I’ll give them a chance to prove otherwise. He can make this cross promotion and be able to say my guy is the best in the world, otherwise, if he refuses to do it and stays quiet, he’ll know I have this merit forever.”
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