Former Bellator lightweight champion and current UFC title challenger Michael Chandler knows he will have his hands full next Saturday. Paired up against Charles Oliveira for a fight that will define the next king of the 155-pound division, “Iron Mike” isn’t one to undermine his competition.
In an interview with Combate, Chander had nothing but praise for Oliveira. Fully aware of the dangers that the Brazilian poses on the table, Michael will make sure not to leave any possibility for “Do Bronx” to capitalize, especially on the ground.
“I practiced my jiu-jitsu because Charles is so good,” Chandler said. “He is perhaps even the scariest opponent I have ever faced in my entire career. Not just for its record number of submissions. It’s no secret that if you give her an arm an arm or find yourself in a triangle, you either sleep or pat. I have a wrestling background, I can be very compact. I won’t let my neck show for him to grab it.
While he knows how good Charles’ ground play is, Chandler is hoping to find enough room to finish the fight himself, but not on the mat. Although the Brazilian’s strike has improved over the years, Michael believes he might still be able to secure a knockout victory, although he knows it won’t be an easy task.
“I expect a first or second round knockout, but people should be ready for a 25 minute war,” Chandler said. “When you face someone like Charles, you can watch the worst 25 minutes of your life. He’s been undefeated in his last eight fights to fight the biggest fight of his life. This is his chance to shine. We will see the best version of him. It won’t be easy, but I believe I can win.
In his last outing, Michael Chandler (22-5) had TKO Dan Hooker in the first round to start his UFC career with right foot in January. The victory put the 35-year-old on a three-game winning streak, with two more knockout wins, against Benson Henderson and Sidney Outlaw. Iron Mike’s last loss occurred in May 2019, when he lost the Bellator lightweight title to Patricio Freire via TKO.
Now, Michael Chandler is set to face Charles Oliveira for the vacant lightweight title at UFC 262 main event in Houston, TX on May 15.