Although Michael Chandler fell short against Charles Oliveira in their fight for the lightweight strap back at UFC 262, he feels the Brazilian couldn’t hold the belt for too long. Oliveira is booked to face the former interim lightweight champion, Dustin Poirier at the main event of UFC 269, and Chandler believes the title will once again change hands.
Oliveira captured the vacant lightweight title by knocking out Chandler at UFC 262 in May, but the win didn’t come without a bit of adversity. Chandler was able to rock and badly hurt Oliveira at the end of Round 1, but “Do Bronx” showed championship mettle by storming into Round 2 with a big left hook which sat Chandler down and crowned him as champion.
Now Oliveira (31-8 MMA, 19-8 UFC) is set for his first title defense against former interim champ Dustin Poirier in the main event of UFC 269 on Dec. 11 and though Chandler wasn’t able to get the best of Oliveira, he sees Poirier (28-6 MMA, 20-5 UFC) dethroning him.
“If you’ve got to go with an actual 100 percent winner on that fight and you had to go – for me, I go with my gut – I think it’s Dustin Poirier,” Chandler told ESPN’s “DC & RC” podcast hosted by Daniel Cormier. “I think Dustin Poirier’s been destined for UFC gold for many, many years. Charles Oliveira has looked extremely impressive and he’s great in every single area, but I do think Dustin Poirier has too many tools. I think they have a similar set of skills, but Poirier’s just a little bit better in all of those areas. I think Poirier probably comes out with a later-round finish. Third-round, fourth-round, fifth-round finish.”
Michael Chandler Ready for the Fight?
Chandler (22-7 MMA, 1-2 UFC) is coming off a “Fight of the Year” contender against Justin Gaethje at UFC 268 in which he showed incredible toughness in a three-round brawl but ultimately was beaten. The three-time Bellator lightweight champ may have fallen out of the title race for now, but he’s angling for a fight with the sport’s biggest star – former dual-champ Conor McGregor, who’s on the road to recovery from a broken leg suffered in a TKO loss to Poirier in July.
Conor is non arguably the biggest start in the history of MMA, he gave some incredible performances against Jose Aldo and Eddie Alvarez, but a lot of credit for his success goes to his ability to promote his fight, he is one of the best trash talkers to ever compete in the octagon, and Chandler believes he can certainly match that intensity against Conor. It would be interesting to see how these two match up against each other.