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Michael Chandler signs with UFC, heads to ‘Fight Island’ to back up Khabib-Gaethje title fight

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Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) recently put pen to paper to grab one of the top lightweights not already competing inside the Octagon.

Former Bellator MMA 155-pound champion Michael Chandler.

While early reports suggested that Chandler was going to throw hands with Tony Ferguson at UFC 254, “Iron” will instead serve as an alternate for the Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Justin Gaethje pay-per-view (PPV) title fight on Oct. 24 in Abu Dhabi.

Promotion President Dana White dropped the news on SportsCenter.

“Eventually hard work pays off, you just have to still be standing there when it does,” Chandler told ESPN. “I’m humbled by the opportunity and can’t wait to go prove what I have been saying for the past 11 years; that I’m the best 155er in the world.”

Chandler (21-5), who turned 34 back in April, is coming off back-to-back knockout victories over Sidney Outlaw and Benson Henderson and has now captured five of his last six. “Iron” is celebrated for his all-action offense, which accounts for 16 finishes in 21 wins.

Perhaps this new turn of events means there’s still hope for this lightweight showdown?

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+.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC 254: “Khabib vs. Gaethje” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.