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Midnight Mania! Michael Chandler names Lightweight’s most talented striker — and it’s not Conor McGregor

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In a short period of time, Michael Chandler has accumulated a wealth of knowledge about the best Lightweights on the UFC roster. “Iron” has only been fighting inside the Octagon since 2021, but he’s already thrown down with several former champions and top-ranked Lightweights.

He’s been all-action the whole time.

In short, Chandler has a fair bit of experience trading blows with elite strikers from Dustin Poirier to Charles Oliveira to Dan Hooker. His career against top talent goes a lot further back than those recent performances, but with that current resume, Chandler has better perspective than most on the current Lightweight pecking order.

In a recent video on UFC’s YouTube channel, Chandler offered his thoughts on each of the 15 ranked Lightweights. Perhaps the most notable bit was his comments on Rafael Fiziev, whom he labeled “the most talented striker in all the world.”

“He’s so dynamic,” Chandler explained (via MMA Junkie). “We obviously get to watch him in the octagon and get to see the performances he puts on. He’s very exciting, but I’ve gotten to train with him. When you watch a guy in training and then you see him translate that perfectly onto his competition, it’s really fun to watch. I think he’s the most talented striker in all the world. Not just the UFC lightweight division. He’s a guy we could see go out there. I think he’s matched up against Justin Gaethje now. That’s going to be a real fun one. I’m really interested to see who wins that one.”

Fiziev is indeed scheduled to throw down opposite Gaethje at UFC 286 on March 18 in London. As for Chandler, there’s a notable omission from his list: Conor McGregor! It took a very long time, but McGregor is no longer ranked at 155 lbs. or any other division. However, “The Notorious” is Chandler’s next dance partner, and the two will square off some time later in the year filming The Ultimate Fighter.

LIVE! Watch UFC 286 PPV On ESPN+ Here!

CHAMPIONSHIP TRILOGY! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to The O2 in London England, on Sat., March 18, 2023, with newly-minted Welterweight kingpin, Leon Edwards, running it back with former 170-pound champion, Kamaru Usman, for a third (and likely final) time. In UFC 286’s pay-per-view (PPV) co-main event, all-action Lightweight knockout artists, Justin Gaethje and Rafael Fiziev, will lock horns with the winner inching closer to a future Lightweight title shot.

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Remember that will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 286 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard on ESPN2/ESPN+ at 3 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 5 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC 286: “Edwards vs. Usman 3” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.

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