Michael Chandler came to the UFC after spending a while on top of Bellator’s lightweight division. He was quite popular and had a reputation for going all out so it was no surprise UFC came calling.
What did come as a surprise, would be the almost immediate title shot Chandler would receive against Charles Oliveira at UFC 262. Chandler went on to lose but win the favors of the audience and the UFC brass that even referred to him as MMA’s Arturo Gatti.
Chandler just made some interesting comments during a talk on Michael Bisping’s ‘Believe You Me’ podcast. He discussed wrestling with Islam Makhachev, and the champ’s upcoming scrap with Alexander Volkanovski.
When asked about Islam, Chandler seemed quite self-aware. He acknowledged his recent loss to Dustin Poirier, but also said that Islam is a different kind of wrestler.
“You’re putting me in a bad spot here. Because people are gonna say that this guy just lost to Poirier, quit talking about Islam, quit saying that you would beat him in a wrestling match.”
“I’m not in a position to talk about how badly I’d beat Islam in a wrestling match. But if I was going to wrestle Islam, I do believe that they’re just two completely different styles and I didn’t wrestle a lot internationally quite frankly.”
“Iron” said that he has outwrestled men from Dagestan in his gym. He thinks that the wrestling styled utilized in the NCAA Division I Championship can get the job done.
“But I think that with the Dagestani guys that I have wrestled in my gym — I’m not saying they hold a candle to Islam — it’s a different style.”
“But in my opinion, old-fashioned American Division I wrestling works very well against it, as long as you’re able to withstand that hand-fighting because they are very strong.”
“I imagine that Islam is very strong and in that hand-fighting category, those guys just feel different when they hold you.”
Chandler then said that he could outwrestle Islam, but the Conor McGregor bout is the one to make.
“But I think I beat Islam Makhachev in a wrestling match. Now that’s gonna be a headline and then everybody’s gonna say ‘there goes Chandler again’, talking about beating Islam. But really, we just wanna fight Conor.”
Chandler also gave his thoughts on Islam’s fight with featherweight champ Volkanovski. He believes that Islam has the Australian’s number due to his advantages in size and strength.
“He’s just so dang strong he’s a lot taller than, Volkanovski so if this fight gets to the ground Volkanovski’s Scrappy but Islam is going to be something bigger stronger, and different than Volkanovski has ever seen or felt.”
Lastly, Chandler also made it known that Khabib and Islam shouldn’t be compared. He believes that Islam is carving out an awesome legacy of his own.
“I hate making the comparison of Khabib because that’s what we always do right and the man deserves his respect. The man deserves to be Islam, not Khabib’s training partner, Khabib’s little brother, Khabib’s underling”