UFC newcomer Michael Chandler has explained why he isn’t focused on trying to impress Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 257.
Chandler is set to make his UFC debut when he locks horns with fellow lightweight contender Dan Hooker in what should be a fascinating co-main event on Fight Island this weekend.
After the aforementioned Nurmagomedov made it clear that he would consider coming out of retirement if he saw an emphatic and impressive performance on Saturday, Chandler responded when asked if that changes the way he’s planning to approach this fight.
“A lot of times when you’re focusing on something it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy that ends up not happening,” Chandler said at UFC 257 media day. “You focus so much on ‘I gotta be spectacular, I gotta get a knockout, I gotta get a submission – oh wait, Khabib’s a wrestler so maybe he wants a wrestling challenge, let me go out and wrestle Dan Hooker so he thinks I’m a good enough wrestler for him to challenge’. I don’t wanna think about that. I want my performance to speak for itself, I wanna go out there and beat Dan Hooker in whatever way possible and, truthfully, I know I can trust myself because I always go for spectacular.
“You’ve followed my career for a long time, I had a lot to lose against a lot of guys where I was supposed to beat guys in the first round,” Chandler added. “There’s a lot more pressure when you’re going out and fighting a guy who you’re supposed to finish in the first round, and doing anything less than finishing him in the first round is a let down to a lot of people. Whereas now, now I just gotta go and fight the number 6 guy on the entire planet in my UFC debut? There’s not a lot of pressure in that because I’ve already cemented a great career, I’ve already enjoyed a great career and I want the fight to be able to take care of itself.”
When asked about whether he thought Nurmagomedov would fight again, and also who he thought the next UFC Lightweight Champion would be, Chandler had the following to say.
“I think he does, and I think I am [going to be the champion], and I think I beat Khabib,” Chandler concluded.
Do you think Michael Chandler can earn a fight with Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 257?