Michael Chandler recently announced that he’d be starting his fight camp, leading many to believe that he likely had a fight lined up to finally make his highly-anticipated Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Lightweight debut.
But according to Dana White, that simply isn’t the case. To hear the outspoken UFC President tell it, there are no plans to book Chandler to a fight in the immediate future. That’s because White isn’t in a hurry to force the ex-Bellator MMA champion to go through another weight cut.
“The problem with Michael Chandler right now is he stepped up for that fight and he cut weight, so he can’t turn around as fast as these other guys can right now. We can’t do that to him,” he said during the UFC Vegas 15 post-fight presser (via MMA Junkie). “So, no hurry, take his time, get his body back together. We’ll get him something soon.”
While White didn’t dive further into details, it seems Chandler will likely be fighting inside the Octagon for the first time in 2021, as Dana stated that the promotion will once again be invading “Fight Island” in the first quarter of the new year.
“Once we go back to Abu Dhabi there’s going to be a lot of big fights coming up here, so he’ll be a part of something,” he stated.
Chandler did make the trip to Abu Dhabi last October to serve as a backup for the Lightweight title unification bout between current division king, Khabib Nurmagomedov, and former interim champion, Justin Gaethje at UFC 254. Thankfully, both men made weight and made it to fight night, which saw “The Eagle” submit” The Highlight” to remain champion.
Chandler also made weight and was likely paid a good amount of coin for his efforts. A couple of attempts to make a fight between he and Tony Ferguson ended up being nothing but mirages, and “El Cucuy” eventually moved on to sign a contract to fight Charles Oliveira.
For now, Chandler will continue to sharpen his tools in anticipation of his UFC debut.