Former Bellator lightweight champion Michael Chandler is reportedly being considered as a potential opponent for former UFC interim lightweight champion Tony Ferguson.
After knocking out Benson Henderson at Bellator 243, Chandler entered in a period of free agency. Buzz about his potential move to the UFC was immediate.
Ferguson, on the other hand, was expected to fight Dustin Poirier at UFC 254, but has been without an opponent since Poirier couldn’t come to terms with the UFC.
With Poirier seemingly out of the picture, the UFC is now reportedly closing in on signing Chandler, and considering Ferguson as the former Bellator champ’s debut opponent.
ESPN’s Ariel Helwani has the details:
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) September 16, 2020
“One name that has been discussed [to fight Tony Ferguson] is free agent Michael Chandler,” Helwani reported. “The UFC is in advanced talks with Chandler, per sources, and is the front-runner to sign him, though a deal isn’t finalized just yet. It’s unclear if Ferguson is interested in that fight.”
UFC President Dana White has made no secret of his interest in Chandler, and recently confirmed that he’s been in communication with the former Bellator champion.
“We’ve talked to (Michael) Chandler, yeah,” White said at the UFC Vegas 10 post-fight press conference. “Yeah, I like him, I like the kid so, we’ll see.”
While it’s looking like Chandler will wind up in the UFC, the man himself as also floated potential moves to the PFL and ONE Championship.
“What will ONE FC offer me? What will PFL, the UFC offer me? Maybe [UFC President] Dana White thinks I suck,” Chandler said on MMA Fighting’s What the Heck podcast recently. “Maybe [ONE Championship CEO] Chatri [Sityodtong’s] like, ‘Maybe that trilogy with Eddie sounds cool, but we don’t want to pay you that much.’ Maybe that’s the case. I doubt it, but let me go see what I’m worth.”
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