After a remarkable first-round knockout of Benson Henderson at Bellator 243 at the Mohegan Sun Arena, Michael Chandler now enters the free market and already has his eyes on a big-money fight with Conor McGregor, if he heads to the UFC.
The former three-time Bellator lightweight champion showed his class with a straight left at 2:09 in the first round, only the second time that Henderson has been stopped in his illustrious career.
“The business side of things, we’re going to make the best decision possible,” said Chandler. “The future’s bright, the phone is open, it’s going be a very interesting next couple of weeks.
“Every single lightweight is on notice right now. Every single lightweight in the top 10 is on the clock. I’m a force to be reckoned with. I’m a guy who’s been around this sport on the outside looking in, seeing, watching, scheming, plotting and planning his next big move.”
So what’s next for the 34-year old? In the past Chandler has talked about facing Conor McGregor and in his post-fight press conference, made the claim that he could beat the former UFC champion in under two rounds.
“As far as that fight goes, I finish Conor in under two (rounds) in my opinion. It would be similar to shades of (Nate) Diaz 1, wear him down, hit him with hard shots, take every single one of his shots.
“He’s got that sneaky strong, thick and hard left hand that he throws and it’s straight. Avoid that, wear him down a little bit, make him see Jesus, just put him out.”
However, former UFC legend and now Bellator analyst Chael Sonnen isn’t sure if a move to UFC is the right one for Chandler.
Speaking before Bellator 243 and when asked in an exclusive with Sky Sports, if Dana White would have any interest in signing Chandler, the former lightweight said: “Dana would never interfere with anyone under contract anywhere else, but if that played out whatever the time was that Chandler wanted to make the call, sure.
“I don’t think Chandler would love the numbers, I don’t think there’s a huge use for him at 155lbs right now on that side of the tracks.
“I wouldn’t have any ill-will, he’s been here (at Bellator) for a long time, if he just wants to get a new experience I wouldn’t blame him at all.”