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UFC 257: Michael Chandler hopes to entice Khabib to end retirement with dominant win over Dan Hooker

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UFC 254: Khabib v Gaethje Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Michael Chandler will make his UFC debut on Jan. 23, 2021, when he takes on Dan Hooker in the co-main event of UFC 257 on “Fight Island” in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. It’s a long-awaited opportunity for Chandler to prove his worth to the UFC faithful after spending the majority of his career competing for Bellator MMA.

And Chandler intends to make an emphatic statement, one big enough to perhaps earn him a fight against Conor McGregor or Dustin Poirier — who will headline UFC 257 — or even a title fight against current division champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov.

“I want to put a stamp on my introduction for who I am to the UFC fans by finishing Dan Hooker or dominating him,” Chandler said in an interview with MMA Fighting. “It really puts me in a position to where maybe I get the winner of Conor-Poirier or I get the next title shot against Khabib.

“I think if I go out there and showcase my wrestling skills, too,” Chandler continued. “I mean there’s no doubt I want to go out there and knock Dan Hooker out, but I also want to show the world my wrestling skills. I want to put a stamp on good old fashioned American wrestling. Maybe I can entice Khabib to come back for the U.S. American wrestling versus Russian Sambo and see if he can get to 30-0 and beat me — if he can.”

Of course, Khabib is adamant he is retired from the sport, though UFC President, Dana White, thinks he can convince “The Eagle” to return for one more fight, though many feel only a fight against Georges St-Pierre will entice him to return.

Still, before Chandler can look ahead to a possible showdown against Khabib, he has to make good on his Octagon debut against one of the toughest fighters in the world in Hooker, who is also hungry to climb back into contention following his loss to Poirier a few months back.