UFC president Dana White explained why lightweight Tony Ferguson was booked against Charles Oliveira instead of Michael Chandler at UFC 256.
We knew that Ferguson was champing at the bit to get in the Octagon before the year was up, and it seemed for a while that Chandler was going to be his opponent. However, the UFC surprised everyone when it was announced this week that Ferguson would instead be fighting top-ranked contender Charles Oliveira instead. The fight will now take place on the UFC 256 main card, with the winner surely figuring himself into title contention at 155lbs.
Following UFC 255, reporters in Las Vegas asked White why the promotion booked Ferguson against Oliveira instead of Chandler. Here’s what the UFC president said.
Dana White says that because Michael Chandler made weight in Abu Dhabi that he wasn't ready to take a fight in December and that's why Tony Ferguson vs. Charles Oliveira got booked.
— Aaron Bronsteter (@aaronbronsteter) November 22, 2020
Dana White says that because Michael Chandler made weight in Abu Dhabi that he wasn’t ready to take a fight in December and that’s why Tony Ferguson vs. Charles Oliveira got booked.
While it’s true that Chandler did cut weight on Fight Island, that fight was over a month ago. Between UFC 254 and UFC 256, Chandler would have had nearly two months to prepare for another fight and cut weight again. While that is certainly not ideal by any means, it’s still reasonable and seems like a curious reason not to book the fight. Remember that Ferguson cut weight twice back in May before fighting Justin Gaethje at UFC 249, not to mention Chandler has competed in several Bellator tournaments.
Having said that, you can remember that weight cuts back-to-back hurt Ferguson in that fight as he didn’t seem like his normal self in that matchup. Chandler obviously doesn’t want that to happen to him and is instead taking a more cautious approach to his weight cut if you believe what White says. Chandler’s loss is ultimately Oliveira’s opportunity.
Do you agree with Dana White booking Tony Ferguson against Charles Oliveira or would you have waited for Michael Chandler to be ready?