UFC lightweight contender Michael Chandler has been trying to fight Tony Ferguson ever since “Iron” crossed over from Bellator MMA back in fall 2020. Unfortunately, any offer from “El Cucuy” comes adorned with a “Tony shaped bow” — which is the combat sports equivalent of getting a gift wrapped in Sunday comics.
“I signed with the promotion in September,” Chandler told The MMA Hour. “Got offered the Oct. 24 card. Tony’s name was on that list. He declined. Then I made weight Oct. 24 and then three weeks later he said he wanted to fight me in December, which I pulled myself out of training camp, wasn’t ready to go back into a training camp and then he went all over social media and said that I turned down a fight, wouldn’t fight him and I was afraid of him. But once again, it was a short notice, Tony type of offer. It’s got a Tony shaped bow on top of the offer.”
Chandler (22-7) was in Abu Dhabi to play backup for the Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Justin Gaethje title fight at UFC 254, but got sent home after all interested parties made weight. “Iron” would later debut with a knockout victory over Dan Hooker, but has since dropped consecutive fights to Charles Oliveira and the aforementioned Gaethje.
That hasn’t stopped the “El Cucuy” callouts from rolling in.
“We’re in January so we’re eight to 10 weeks removed from the [Gaethje] fight,” Chandler continued. “It took me six weeks to recover from the last one to actually stop hobbling around and then I heard something last week that he wanted to fight me in February, which was about five weeks’ notice. Whenever a guy says ‘hey, I want to fight this guy but I want more money’ or ‘I want to fight this guy but it’s got to be this date.’ When you add these little caveats and asterisks, are you really asking for the fight or are you only doing it on your terms in a scenario where you know a guy’s not ready to fight? I would love to fight Tony but we’ve got to do it on a normal timeframe.”
You don’t typically see “normal” and “Tony” in the same sentence.
“El Cucuy” (25-6) is not in a place to be making demands after dropping three bouts and getting dominated in all three fights. It’s also worth noting that Ferguson — who captured the glass trophy on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 13 — turns 38 in just a few weeks.
“Tony is Tony and I respect the guy,” Chandler said. “Love the way that he fights. Would love to share the Octagon with him but it’s got to be on a normal timeframe. Everybody knows what a normal timeframe is, you need eight to 10 weeks to train for a fight. I take this sport very seriously. I take these fights very seriously. So no, I’m not going to fight a guy on five weeks’ notice just saying yes to a fight eight or 10 weeks after a previous fight.”
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