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Bellator 145's Michael Chandler brands Lightweight champion Will Brooks a 'nerd' with 'victim mentality'

Former Bellator Lightweight champion Michael Chandler is on the comeback trail after snapping a three-fight losing streak in June. His road back to glory makes another stop at Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Mo., this Friday night.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Bellator 145: "Vengeance" takes place at Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Mo., this weekend (Fri., Nov. 6, 2015).

Several fighters on the Spike TV-televised card are looking to change their fortunes. Bobby Lashley wants revenge against James Thompson. Daniel Straus hopes that the "third time is the charm" going against Patricio Freire. And then there's Michael Chandler, who collides with David Rickels in a Lightweight showdown.

However, for Chandler, there is really nothing to prove -- he decisively knocked out Rickels in 44 seconds back when he was Bellator's 155-pound champion. For Rickels, though, this second chance is everything; in fact, Rickels declared it his "evil plan" to get a rematch.

It may seem like Rickels has more at stake on Friday night, but this is a risky fight for Chandler, too. Having snapped a three-fight losing streak at Bellator's "Kimbo vs. Shamrock" card in June, Chandler needs to keep his momentum going if he ever hopes to again compete for a world title.

Chandler recently chatted with about the rematch against Rickels at Bellator 145. And for the High Ridge, Mo.,-born native, there's no better place to roll it back than inside his favorite venue.

"St. Louis is an amazing place to fight, so I'm excited to do it. My second fight ever in MMA was under Scott Coker at the Strikeforce event there in St. Louis. So, you know, it's all come full circle."

That's not all that has come full circle. Rickels hopes to change the outcome this time around, but Chandler has different plans.

"Last time it went really well in my direction, but every single fight is different and I'm treating it as such. I've taken this fight very seriously. You know, I think I'm better than Dave Rickels in every area, every aspect of the sport, so it's just about going out there and proving it, putting it on the line and putting on a show for the St. Louis fans."

Chandler says he'd love to get a crowd pleasing knockout in front of his hometown fans, for him there's nothing better than feeling of winning by any means necessary.

"Fans see a guy going in there like, 'Oh it's just another fight for him, it's just another day at the office. He should know how to fight by now ... blah blah blah.' There's a lot of pressure, and a lot of preparation, a lot of build up, a lot of stuff that you've got to deal with. Once that fight is over, once the ref pushes you away after a knockout, or pulls you off when you've got your arms wrapped around his neck, it's the most amazing feeling that you can experience in the cage. Finally, the pressure is gone. You have accomplished what you set out to accomplish."

Rickels may be under as much pressure -- if not more -- to win a rematch for which he practically begged; however, in Chandler's mind, that won't make a difference on Friday night.

"Let's be honest: If I got knocked out in 44 seconds by anybody, that person would be part of my 'evil plan.' You want to get that one back. So for him, it's about avenging that loss and rightfully so. I want to avenge every single loss that I have. We all do as fighters. I think he's taking this fight seriously, but he just doesn't have the skills to beat me."

Speaking of avenging losses, Chandler wants current Lightweight champion Will Brooks again, but he thinks Brooks is doing a little too much whining and complaining when he should be focused on his fight with Marcin Held in the Bellator 145 main event.

"I think he's a nerd and I think he's got that victim mentality. It's like, c'mon man, you're the champion, why are you worried about these other guys coming? It all just comes back to the, 'Oh woe is me' attitude that he has and, quite frankly, way too many people in the world have. Run your own race, distinguish yourself, make yourself desirable, do something with what you're doing outside of the norm and then you're going to be put in a situation where you're getting taken care of."

Chandler is far from a victim after losing two heartbreaking split decisions in title fights, but it's clear that the loss in his rematch with Eddie Alvarez is one that he still feels was unbelievable to everybody involved.

"I joke like he knew that he lost that fight, his coach knew that he lost that fight, then whenever his name got announced he was the most surprised guy in the building -- not the most ticked off guy in the building. It's just one of those things, it's the fight game, you gotta roll with the punches. You've for to 'embrace the suck,' if you will."

He's certainly "embraced the suck" for fighting Rickels again, and Chandler knows that the finish won't come easy.

"He's the kind of guy that you have to finish him. You have to punch him on the button, knock him out, or put the ref in a situation where the ref has to stop the fight for Dave Rickels to stop fighting. He's just a tough, hard-nosed guy who keeps coming and keeps coming and keeps coming."

Win or lose there's little doubt that Chandler keeps on grinding, which is exactly what he promises will make him the better man inside Scottrade Center once the dust settles.

"He talked about putting so much pressure on me that I'm going to break, (but) if you try to get into a cardio battle or a battle of wills with me you're in for a long night. He hasn't been through what I've been through, that's for darn sure."

One other thing is for darn sure: If Brooks and Chandler both win this weekend, Bellator MMA and Spike TV executives have to be salivating at booking another confrontation. Complete audio of our interview is below and complete Bellator MMA coverage can be found right here on fight night.


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