Michael Chandler on Why It’s a “No” on Fighting Islam Makhachev at UFC 254
By FCF Staff
Michael Chandler is in Abu Dhabi this week and is prepared to step into the main event if need be, but the decorated lightweight isn’t interested in facing Islam Makhachev.
After the former Bellator champ recently signed with the UFC, it was announced Chandler would serve as an alternate for the UFC 254 headliner between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Justin Gaethje.
Makhachev was booked to fight Rafael dos Anjos at the October 24th event, but the latter was forced out after testing positive for COVID-19.
Makhachev and others called for a fight with Chandler, but while talking to MMA Junkie, the powerful wrestler said this.
“The answer is no,” Chandler said. “I think there’s already been talks about the next move after this. The ship has sailed as far as – like I said, if Tony Ferguson did say, ‘Yeah OK, I’ll be your huckleberry Oct. 24,’ which if there’s anybody out there that might actually do something like that it would be Tony Ferguson, but at this point, I’m not changing courses. At this point I’m not taking a short notice fight against a guy, as I said, my words have been somewhat misconstrued and people are just hitting me up left and right.
“When I say people, I mean like Russians, Dagestanis, all these guys on the Khabib train – there’s millions and millions of them – they’re crushing me, calling me chicken and coward, but I didn’t sign this contract to go out there and fight anybody, especially on two weeks’ notice and change the opponent, change the plan and change everything. As of right now, I’m the backup for the world title fight, I’m keeping my body, my mind, my soul, my spirit ready for the next move.”
The 34-year-old Chandler (21-5) is coming off a first-round, KO win over Benson Henderson in August.