Michael Chandler recently revealed that Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) offered him a fight against Tony Ferguson — as well as one against Dustin Poirier — at UFC 254 on Oct. 24, 2020, which “El Cucuy” turned down.
“The Diamond” did the same, according to Chandler.
According to Ferguson, he did corroborate that the fight was floated, but he wasn’t too thrilled after somehow catching wind that the former Bellator MMA Lightweight champion was set to get a bigger paycheck than him. In the end, that fight was the latest 155-pound bout proposed for the event that went up in smoke.
Despite getting shut down, Chandler says he is still open to facing Ferguson in the co-main event of UFC 254.
“I’m already going Oct. 24th, I’m already making weight, so yes, I would definitely fight him,” Chandler said in an interview with MMA Junkie. “He’s kind of the only guy that I’m interested in fighting right now. It’s already been talked about, so you don’t add any names to that hat whenever a guy in the top five is already talked about.”
According to Chandler, he agreed to all options given to him for the pay-per-view (PPV) event, including taking the trip all the way to Abu Dhabi so he can be back up for the title unification bout between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Justin Gaethje.
“When I was getting the deal done with the UFC, they essentially said, ‘We know that you just fought in August, but would you be willing to fight in October?’ and I said, ‘absolutely.’ They asked if I’d be willing to fight Dustin Poirier or Tony Ferguson in October and said those guys are scheduled to fight, but they’re having money issues and they’re kind of having different issues and whatnot and I said ‘absolutely.’ [UFC] said, ‘We kind of know the answer to this, but if one of those guys aren’t willing to fight, will you be the back up for the Oct. 24 card? I said, ‘absolutely.’
“So my answer to all six of their questions was yes, yes, yes,” he continued. “When you come into an organization, you have to show your worth and I think that was a way to not throw my weight around. I wasn’t going to say, ‘No, I’m not going to be the back up, I’m not going to be your insurance policy.’”
While Chandler would also be open to facing Poirier, it seems that option is off the table after “The Diamond” and Conor McGregor agreed to a rematch for later this year.
“So that leaves Tony Ferguson,” Chandler said. “That’s why I said in his way with all caps on Twitter, I said you already turned down a fight against me on the biggest card of the year. This card was going to have a lot of eyeballs and we could’ve been the co-main event and got this tournament going as he likes to talk.
“I could’ve stepped on his mat and see how things shake out,” he continued. “I think I go out there and beat Tony Ferguson and I immediately put myself on the title picture.”
With just two weeks left for fight night, the promotion has some work to do in order to convince “El Cucuy” to take the fight.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 254 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ESPN 2/ESPN+ at 12 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 2 p.m. ET on ESPN+.
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