Michael Chandler is finally getting his chance to prove himself in the UFC. On Thursday, it was announced that the former Bellator lightweight champion has signed with the Ultimate Fighting Championship and he could immediately be thrown into the deep end.
UFC president Dana White announced the signing of Chandler during an appearance on ESPN’s SportsCenter.
Chandler later commented on his signing a statement to ESPN.com.
“Eventually, hard work pays off. You just have to still be standing there when it does,” the 34-year-old Chandler said. “I’m humbled by the opportunity and can’t wait to go prove what I have been saying for the past 11 years; that I’m the best lightweight in the world. See you at the top!”
While an official debut for Chandler has yet to be announced, White revealed that Chandler will serve as a backup and potential replacement for the UFC 254 main event between lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and interim titleholder Justin Gaethje.
The event will be held at the UFC’s “Fight Island” in Abu Dhabi.
There has also been discussion that Chandler could serve as a potential future opponent for former interim champion Tony Ferguson.
Throughout his Bellator career, Chandler tied for the most fights in company history (23), tied the record for most victories under the Bellator banner (18), scored the most finishes in company history (13), and competed in a record 11 title fights. He held the Bellator title three times during his career with the promotion.