Michael Chandler spoke with Ariel Helwani of ESPN, Monday, following what some people are calling the best UFC debut in history, where he knocked out Top 10 lightweight Dan Hooker in the co main event for UFC 257: Poirier vs. McGregor 2.
During the interview, Chandler revealed that after UFC 257, he almost stepped in on two weeks notice to fight on February 13, at UFC 258.
“I said yes to an opportunity,” Chandler said. “I had a phone call that just said, ‘Hey would you be willing to fight in the next couple weeks.’ And I said ‘yes.’ There’s a big Pay-Per-View coming up, I said yes to it. I didn’t have any names being thrown around necessarily, but I knew that it would be somebody, by process of elimination, somebody ranked ahead of me.”
“It’s not happening,” Chandler said when asked if the fight is official. “This opportunity did not come to fruition based on the other person saying no, but I said yes. I’m trying to get some clarity in this lightweight division. I’m trying to strike while the iron is hot. This UFC lightweight division needs a fresh mix up, a fresh face, and a fresh leader. And I’m right here to put myself on the leaderboard.”
“I was asked, ‘Would you be willing to fight on February 13.’ I, without hesitation, said ‘yes,'” he added.
The suspected opponent for Chandler seems to have been either Charles Oliveira or Justin Gaethje. However, Chandler didn’t confirm who the opponent was that turned the fight down.
“I don’t know,” Chandler said when asked if the opponent was either Gaethje or Oliveira. “I think the UFC’s a great organization, there’s no shortage of lightweights, there’s only a couple that are ranked ahead of me, so we’ll leave it at that.”