Michael Chandler Through the years

Michael Chandler was born on April 24, 1986, in High Ridge, Missouri. He was the second of his parents, Michael Chandler Sr. and Betty Chandler. Michael Chandler is of Irish and German ancestry. He grew up with his three siblings.

In addition to earning three football letters and coming in second in the senior wrestling competition at the MSHSAA State Championships, Chandler was a consistent member of the honor roll during his time in high school. During his senior year, he received the Most Valuable Wrestler award and was chosen for the All-St. Louis Team.

Chandler enrolled at the University of Missouri in 2004 after graduating from Northwest High School without receiving an athletic scholarship. He then joined the school’s wrestling team. Chandler had 100 career victories while playing at Missouri, qualified for the NCAA Division I tournament four times, and finished fifth in the finals as a senior.

Chandler was close friends with Ben Askren, a two-time Dan Hodge Trophy winner and future Bellator MMA World Champion.

After his wrestling career came to an end, Chandler signed up for Xtreme Couture’s mixed martial arts programme. He decided against participating as an amateur. In August 2009, Chandler made his professional MMA debut by defeating Kyle Swadley by first-round TKO.

Chandler then faced Richard Bouphanouvong in November 2009 at Strikeforce Challengers: Woodley vs. Bears. He ended up winning the match via technical knockout in the second round.


In May 2010, he competed in his subsequent promotion match against Sal Wood. In less than a minute, he became the winner through submission.

Michael Chandler vs Sal Wood


In September 2010, Chandler made his Bellator debut at Bellator 31. He won against Scott Stapp via first-round technical knockout. In October 2010, Chandler competed against Chris Page in a welterweight match. He ended up winning the match via submission in the first round.

Chandler was confirmed to compete in the Bellator Season Four Lightweight Tournament in February 2011. At Bellator 36 on March 2011, Chandler competed against Marcin Held in the first round of the competition. He choked Held with an arm-triangle choke to win the match via technical submission. Chandler advanced to the semifinals with the victory.

Michael Chandler vs Marcin Held

Chandler fought Patricky Pitbull in the tournament final at Bellator 44. He used his wrestling skill to repeatedly knock Freire to the ground and gain control of the match. He ended up defeating Freire via unanimous decision and earned $100,000 and a crack at the Bellator Lightweight World Championship.

At Bellator 54 in October 2011, Chandler was scheduled to face Eddie Alvarez for the Bellator Lightweight World Championship. The match had to be postponed due to an unexplained injury to Alvarez. The match was later rescheduled for Bellator 58 in November 2011. In the fourth round, Chandler submitted Eddie Alvarez to win the match.

Michael Chandler vs Eddie Alvarez

Bellator MMA president Scott Coker said in May 2016 that Chandler will face Patricky Pitbull once again in June 2016 at Bellator 157. The two will compete for the vacant Bellator Lightweight Championship. Chandler ended up winning the match by submitting Pitbull in the first round

In June 2017 at Bellator NYC, Chandler faced Brent Primus in his second championship defence. The match was briefly stopped in the first round by the referee so that he could examine Chandler, whose left ankle was obviously hurt. Primus won the match via a technical knockout, becoming him the new Bellator Lightweight Champion.

Michael Chandler vs Brent Primus

In January 2018, Chandler competed in his comeback match at Bellator 192 against Goiti Yamauchi. He ended up winning the match via a unanimous decision.

Michael Chandler vs Goiti Yamauchi

In April 2018 at Bellator 197, Chandler was scheduled to face Brent Primus in a rematch for the Bellator Lightweight Championship. However, Primus had to withdraw from the match due to an injury. Chandler instead competed against Brandon Girtz in the same event. Chandler ended up winning the match via technical submission in the first round.

Michael Chandler vs Brent Primus face off

In December 2018 at Bellator 212, Chandler’s much awaited rematch with Brent Primus took place. Primus was out-wrestled for the most of the contest, which Chandler finally winning by unanimous decision, and reclaiming his Bellator Lightweight World Championship back.

Chandler was supposed to compete in a rematch with Benson Henderson for Bellator 244 in June 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic caused the event to be postponed, although it ultimately took place in August 7, 2020 at Bellator 243. He ended up winning the match via first-round knockout.

Michael Chandler vs Benson Henderson

After winning Bellator 243, Chandler reportedly became a free agent in August 2020.


It was revealed in September 2020, that Chandler had signed a deal with the UFC and will fill in for Khabib Nurmagomedov and Justin Gaethje in a championship match at UFC 254.

In January 2021, Chandler faced Dan Hooker in his promotional debut at UFC 257. He ended up winning the match in the first round via technical knockout victory. With this victory, he was given the Performance of the Night prize.

After Khabib Nurmagomedov retired as the UFC Lightweight Champion, Chandler competed for the title against seasoned veteran Charles Oliveira in the main event of UFC 262. Despite coming close to stopping Oliveira in round one, Chandler was defeated early in round two via technical knockout.

Michael Chandler and Charles Oliveira face off

In May 2022 at UFC 274, former UFC interim lightweight champion Tony Ferguson competed against Chandler. He defeated Ferguson with a front kick in the second round to claim victory. Chandler received his second Performance of the Night Bonus Award, thanks to the win.

Michael Chandler vs Tony Ferguson

At UFC 281, Chandler and Dustin Poirier squared off in November 2022. Chandler ended up losing the match in the third round by a rear-naked choke submission.

Michael Chandler and Dustin Poirier face off

In February 2023, it was revealed that Chandler will appear as a rival coach in the 31st season of the TUF reality series against Conor McGregor. After the season, the two are supposed to face each other in a big event at the end of the year.

Michael Chandler with his team at TUF 31

After communicating over email for almost two years, Chandler and Brie Willett began dating in 2013. Following that, they married in 2014. In 2017, the couple welcomed their son Hap into the family via adoption. In April 2022, the couple adopted their second son, Ace.

Michael Chandler with his wife Brie Willett

Chandler is the owner of Training Camp in Nashville, an MMA and fitness facility.