Michael Chandler thinks Justin Gaethje has received just as much good will from the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) as he has.
The fan-friendly firefight of Chandler vs. Gaethje takes place on the pay-per-view (PPV) main card broadcast of UFC 268, which will take place inside Madison Square Garden in New York, N.Y., this weekend (Sat., Nov. 6, 2021). Tony Ferguson famously claim that Chandler received “Dana White Privilege” in the form of a vacant UFC Lightweight title shot against Charles Oliveira (watch highlights).
In a new interview, Chandler dismissed the idea that he was gifted anything that Gaethje wasn’t.
“Justin Gaethje got the same amount of preferential treatment,” Chandler told MMA Fighting. “The same amount of Dana White privilege ... whatever you want to call it. He came from outside the UFC, came in, got a top-five guy right away. If he would have beat Eddie Alvarez, he would have gotten a title shot. He lost to Eddie Alvarez, which made him go fight a couple more fights. He’s been in some big commercials. He’s been in big fights. He’s headlined cards. He and I have had very similar roads. I think he deserved it because he earned it. He probably in his heart of hearts believes that I deserved it and earned it but he needs to convince himself that I am seeking attention or I’m an attention seeker and I’m a fake and a phony and whatever things he has said.
“More than anything, a guy who doesn’t deserve the treatment that I’ve gotten thus far but you’ll find the older you get and the longer you do things, those who ask and those who say yes to opportunities, usually end up making it further than those that don’t or those that fight the powers that be. I’m not here to fight the powers that be. I’m here to fight the guys that they put me up against and Justin Gaethje’s the next one. Whether he loves me, whether he hates me, I know he respects me.”
UFC 268 is headlined by a UFC Welterweight title grudge match pitting champion Kamaru Usman vs. Colby Covington. The co-headliner is a UFC Strawweight rematch between titleholder Rose Namajunas and former champ Zhang Weili.