Former Bellator MMA lightweight champion Michael Chandler will make his Octagon return against fellow action fighter and former 155-pound interim titleholder Tony Ferguson as part of the upcoming UFC 274 pay-per-view (PPV) event on May 7 in Phoenix.
“It’s a fight that scares me a little bit because Tony’s a little bit crazy but those are the guys I want to fight,” Chandler told MMA Fighting. “He’s a scary, scary man. He doesn’t really have an off switch. Even Justin Gaethje couldn’t really shut the switch off. He was still conscious, he was still moving. Tony Ferguson is just that dude.”
The 38 year-old Ferguson (25-6) was once considered the second-best contender in the lightweight division, racking up 12 straight wins with nine nasty finishes. Then came a dreadful three-fight losing streak that sent the visibly shopworn “El Cucuy” tumbling to No. 7 in the official rankings.
“I would say his track record thus far would indicate that maybe he has lost a step but you can’t just look at records and say he’s lost his last three fights,” Chandler continued. “Charles Oliveira, Justin Gaethje, Beneil Dariush, these are the top guys in the world. When we’re fighting up at the top of the division doing this round-robin against the best guys on the planet at 155 pounds, you’re going to win some, you’re going to lose some and every now and again, you’re going to lose a couple in a row just like I have.”
The 22-7 Chandler, 35, burst onto the scene with a thunderous knockout victory over Dan Hooker. “Iron” would drop his next two fights against Charles Oliveira and Justin Gaethje but the losses did little to hurt his overall stock, thanks to a pair of post-fight performance bonuses. As of this writing, Chandler is ranked two spots above Ferguson at No. 5.
“Tony just comes straight forward to take one to give one, takes a big shot to land a slicing elbow,” Chandler said. “He’s going to fighting with razor blades trying to cut me open but I’m fighting with a sledgehammer trying to knock him out. Guys take shots and some of them get timid. Guys get hit pretty hard, they start to second guess things. They pull themselves out of the fire instead of pushing themselves into those exchanges. That’s one thing about Tony Ferguson. He’s never once shied away from the battle.”
For the rest of the UFC 274 fight card and PPV lineup click here.