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Islam Makhachev doesn’t see Michael Chandler deserving of title shot ‘even if he wins’ against Dustin Poirier

UFC 274: Oliveira v Gaethje Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC

Michael Chandler is going to have to work his way back to a title shot.

The Lightweight division in Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is currently in the midst of getting the top contenders all sorted out after a new champion was crowned at UFC 280 this past weekend (Oct. 22, 2022). Now reigning supreme, Islam Makhachev will sit back and enjoy the upcoming UFC 281 event on Nov. 12, 2022.

Fighting that night will be the aforementioned Chandler, who is set to take on a fellow former title challenger, Dustin Poirier. Both men aim to re-establish themselves as next in line for title opportunities, but unfortunately for them, the new champ believes either winner will still need additional wins.

LIVE! Watch UFC 281 PPV On ESPN+ Here!

CHAMPIONSHIP DOUBLE-DIP! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to “The Fight Mecca,” Madison Square Garden in New York, N.Y., on Sat., Nov. 12, 2022, featuring two highly-anticipated championship showdowns. In UFC 281’s pay-per-view (PPV) main event, Middleweight champion, Israel Adesanya, will look to settle the score with former kickboxing foe and No. 5-seeded contender, Alex Pereira. In the ESPN+-streamed PPV co-main event, women’s Strawweight champion, Carla Esparza, intends to defend her newly-won title for the first time against former champion and No. 2-ranked contender, Zhang Weili.

Don’t miss a single second of EPIC face-punching action!

“I don’t think either of them will get an immediate title shot,” Makhachev said during a media scrum in Dagestan (h/t Red Corner MMA). “How many times did Poirier fight for the belt? Chandler has just fought four times in the organization and lost two of them. So, I don’t think Chandler deserves a title shot even if he wins.”

Immediately following Makhachev’s dominant second round submission over Charles Oliveira at UFC 280 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (watch highlights), he appeared to have his first title challenger lined up.

UFC Featherweight champion, Alexander Volkanovski, was in attendance for the event, serving as the back up to the Lightweight title tilt. “The Great” entered the Octagon, confronting Makhachev after his win as the two agreed to fight each other for their next time out.

While another top 155-pound contender, Beneil Dariush, also fought that night, scoring a fun unanimous decision win over Mateusz Gamrot, Makhachev feels the champion versus champion tilt is the direction he’s headed.

“For me personally and for MMA fans as well, Volkanovski looks more interesting as a challenge,” Makhachev said. “Because there will be two belts on the line. It’s always big when two champions face each other, I think it’s always exciting for the fans. But I’m not downplaying Dariush’s accomplishments. He is on a great winning streak, he has beaten some solid opposition. He deserves the title shot, too, but I’ve never picked opponents. I will fight whoever UFC gives me.”

Remember that will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 281 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard (on ESPNEWS/ESPN+) at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC 281: “Adesanya vs. Pereira” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.

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