Michael Chandler sets his sights on Justin Gaethje following UFC 254

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

UFC newcomer Michael Chandler has his sights set on a potential showdown with fellow lightweight contender Justin Gaethje.

“The Highlight” failed in his attempt to capture the UFC Lightweight Championship on Saturday night as he was beaten by Khabib Nurmagomedov in the main event of UFC 254. Chandler, on the other hand, simply sat back and watched the action unfold after serving as the back-up fighter for the title bout.

Now, though, during an interview with The Schmo, he has revealed his interest in a blockbuster fight against the aforementioned Gaethje.

“There’s a lot of different options right now,” Chandler said (transcription via MMAFighting). “I think with the way the landscape looked – you had Gaethje and Khabib with Khabib as the lightweight champion after tonight – I was thinking Tony Ferguson. But now you’ve got Jon Anik and Justin Gaethje talking after the fight. Gaethje is a gamer. Justin Gaethje is one of the greatest competitors that we will ever get to see grace the octagon . . . (and) he said he’s ready in six to eight weeks, he’s ready to fight again. He didn’t take that much damage in this fight, which is great. I’m ready in six to eight weeks, he’s ready in six to eight weeks, there’s a Tony Ferguson fight, there is The Ultimate Fighter coming up, I know that’s gonna be a big debut for ESPN. Culminating in a lightweight title shot seems like nonstop action for ESPN so I would love to be a part of that as well. So we’ll see what happens.”

“At this point, with the way everything changed tonight, I think a fight with Justin Gaethje has always excited me more than anybody in the entire division,” Chandler concluded. “More than Conor or Khabib, even though the mystique of beating Khabib and taking his 0 is something special, or fighting Conor on the highest grossing card of the year and making the most money, the red panty night as he likes to call it. Those are all wonderful but when it comes to just straight competitor versus competitor, hand to hand combat, mano a mano, small-town blue-collar American wrestler versus small-town American blue-collar wrestler, that’s me and Justin Gaethje stepping into the cage against each other, so that’s exciting to me.”

Who do you want to see Michael Chandler fight in his UFC debut?