Dana White updates on Michael Chandler’s UFC debut: There’s “no hurry”

Michael Chandler, Dana White
Image via @mikechandlermma on Instagram (photographer not listed)

UFC President Dana White says there is “no hurry” to schedule the UFC debut of former Bellator lightweight champion “Iron” Michael Chandler.

Chandler signed with the UFC in the fall, and was was immediately pegged as the understudy for the UFC 254-headlining lightweight title fight between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Justin Gaethje. In the end, both Nurmagomedov and Gaethje made it to the Octagon that night, which meant Chandler’s services weren’t needed, and his UFC debut was put on ice.

While Chandler has since claimed that he’s starting fight camp, White says there’s nothing on the table for the former Bellator champion, and that his promotional debut isn’t urgent.

“The problem with Michael Chandler right now is he stepped up for that [Nurmagomedov vs. Gaethje] fight and he cut weight, so he can’t turn around as fast as these other guys can right now. We can’t do that to him,” White said after UFC Vegas 15 (via MMA Junkie). “So, no hurry, take his time, get his body back together. We’ll get him something soon.”

While White didn’t provide an exact timeframe for Chandler’s UFC debut, he did suggest that it could occur when the promotion next returns to “Fight Island” in Abu Dhabi. It’s not clear when exactly that will happen, however, the upcoming UFC 257 card is expected to occur in that setting, and is likely to be part of a larger string of events there.

“Once we go back to Abu Dhabi there’s going to be a lot of big fights coming up here, so he’ll be a part of something,” White said, suggesting Chandler will debut on Fight Island.

At present, it’s not clear who Michael Chandler will fight in his UFC debut, but Justin Gaethje and Dan Hooker seem like the frontrunners, as many other top lightweights are currently booked.

Who would you like to see Dana White and the UFC match him up with?

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