Michael Chandler on His Upcoming UFC Debut Against Dan Hooker at UFC 257

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Michael Chandler (21-5 MMA, 0-0 UFC) spoke with ESPN’s Brett Okomoto, Monday, to talk about his big fight announcement against top UFC lightweight contender Dan ‘Hangman’ Hooker, (20-9 MMA, 10-5 UFC) on January 23 for UFC 257.

During the interview, Chandler spoke on why it’s taken so long for him to get a fight since signing with the UFC back in September, stating that it was more than just one issue that has kept him from getting a fight booked until just now.

“The (UFC) offered a fight to Dustin (Poirier), they offered a fight to Tony (Ferguson) for that October 24 card which was Khabib vs. Gaethje, neither of those guys said yes,” Chandler said. “Then I became the back up (for UFC 254). Then Islam Makhachev needed an opponent last minute, that was never offered to me. There was another one where Paul Felder stepped in to fight Rafael Dos Anjos, and that was another one where everyone thought I should have jumped in. Once again that was never offered to me by the UFC. Obviously, Tony Ferguson, we wanted to fight him January 23, then he tries to pull a fast one and tried to fight me on two or three weeks notice, after I just made weight (for UFC 254).”

“I’ve been wanting to fight on this January 23 card since that October 24 card,” he added. “We got done with that, and that was always the plan, and obviously we went through a laundry list of names, guys inside the top five, and Hooker was the one who said yes.”

Okomoto followed that up by asking Chandler how he feels about getting matched up against Hooker, being that he was eyeing much higher ranked and higher profile opponents to make his UFC debut against.

“It wasn’t that Dan Hooker wasn’t a formidable opponent,” Chandler said. “Truthfully, he may be one of the saltiest, nastiest, toughest challenges, both physically and with his attributes in the octagon. I think I match up better with Poirier than I do with Hooker. I think I match up better with (Justin) Gaethje than I do with Hooker. I think I match up better with Tony Ferguson than I do with Hooker,” adding, “I signed with the UFC to get to the top, and in order to get to the top I have to have a fight. I have to get inside the UFC octagon.”

Despite believing his upcoming opponent will be a difficult matchup, Chandler, believes he has what it takes to get the win over Hooker.

“He’s the tallest guy in the division, which isn’t that big of a deal for me. I mean, obviously I’m not the tallest guy. I’m 5’9, so I’m about average height. So I fight a lot of guys who are taller than me, and I’ve got numerous knockouts against guys who are taller than me. I have a knack for being able to close that distance, get inside, (and) kind of Mike Tyson guys, if you will.”

Source: ESPN MMA

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