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UFC 257’s Michael Chandler assures UFC fans he’s not the next Ben Askren

Michael Chandler may have a close relationship with fellow Bellator MMA great Ben Askren, but he believes he’ll produce better results than “Funky” did as a member of the UFC roster.

Chandler, who will make his Octagon debut against Dan Hooker at UFC 257 this weekend on “Fight Island,” has a lot to prove since signing with the promotion back in September. The 34-year-old has been a member of the Bellator roster since 2010 and has been calling for the biggest names in the sport his entire career. Chandler will have his chance to prove himself when he locks horns with Hooker in the co-main event of one of the biggest cards of the year.

Unfortunately, Chandler seems to be fighting an uphill battle. Outside of Eddie Alvarez, who won the UFC lightweight title back in 2016, there haven’t been too many fighters to come over from Bellator and have prolonged success under the bright lights of the Octagon.

The most recent example was Ben Askren. While Askren technically came over after competing under the ONE Championship banner the welterweight fighter previously fought in Bellator from 2010-2013, winning five title fights during that span. Askren was supposed to take the UFC’s welterweight division by storm when he debuted in 2019, but ended up producing a lack luster 1-2 record, including his infamous knockout loss to Jorge Masvidal.

“Listen, I’m well-aware of Ben’s fights in the UFC, his stint in the UFC,” Chandler said during UFC 257’s media day. “I’m well-aware he seemed to be more bark than he was bite in his UFC career, I guess, going 1-2. But I can guarantee right now Ben Askren lays his head on his pillow at night and sleeps like a baby knowing that he came to the UFC, he put his best foot forward, he came up short a couple of times. Askren eventually retired.

“It remains to be seen what the Michael Chandler story will be. I believe it’s going to be a lot different than Ben’s. That doesn’t make me any better or any worse than him. He’s a dear friend of mine, like a big brother to me. So we will see how the story is told. There’s a lot of people comparing me to Ben Askren, which, there’s the Mizzou connection, the friendship that we have. We shall see.”

Luckily for Chandler, he is a more well-rounded fighter than Askren. Chandler also happens to be coming off back-to-back knockout wins under the Bellator banner and should be able to give Hooker a run for his money in his debut. But that is easier said than done considering “Hangman” has turned in a 7-2 divisional record since the start of 2017.

UFC 257 will go down tomorrow night (Sat., Jan. 23, 2021) live on ESPN+ PPV from inside Etihad Arena on Fight Island in Abu Dhabi, U.A.E., with Conor McGregor vs. Dustin Poirier 2 serving as the main event.

MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 257 fight card RIGHT HERE, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6:15 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ESPN+ and ESPN at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+.