’29 and Chandler’- Khabib Nurmagomedov Gets Taunted by Michael Chandler

Published 03/18/2021, 11:01 AM EDT
ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – JANUARY 23: Michael Chandler battles Dan Hooker during the UFC 257 event at UFC Fight Island on January 23, 2021 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)


UFC lightweight Michael Chandler spoke to MMA Fighting and went over his place as a contender in the division. The former Bellator MMA champion finally made his way to the UFC, and he’s one of the hottest commodities on the roster. He came in as one of the most scrutinized free-agent signings and has definitely made good on his hype.

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‘Iron’ Michael Chandler made his promotional debut back at UFC 257 in January and scored a sensational KO. He walked down top contender Dan Hooker and landed a blow that sent ‘The Hangman’ to the canvas. The follow-up shots were largely unnecessary, and UFC fans certainly knew that Chandler had arrived.

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Michael Chandler on enticing Khabib Nurmagomedov to return to fighting

Chandler has been consistent in his view that he’ll successfully entice the lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov to un-retire. ‘The Eagle’ has stepped away from MMA ever since October 2020 and he maintained that he has no plans to fight again in the octagon. However, Chandler believes his strength of schedule will be enough to get Nurmagomedov out of retirement.

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – SEPTEMBER 07: Khabib Nurmagomedov of Russia prepares to enter the Octagon prior to his lightweight championship bout against Dustin Poirier during UFC 242 at The Arena on September 7, 2019 in Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

“I think he’s got unfinished business. think 29-0 is not enough for him. He wants 30-0, but it’s got to be the right challenge. That really is kind of the interesting aspect.

“He’s already beaten [Justin] Gaethje. He’s already beaten Conor [McGregor], already beaten [Dustin] Poirier. Already beaten essentially everyone in the top-five, aside from me and [Charles] Oliveira.”

‘Iron’ Chandler: Making his mark

Chandler doubled down on his viewpoint that he will be the first man to add a loss to Nurmagomedov’s unblemished record. To make Nurmagomedov go from 29-0 to ’29-Chandler’ would be a feat that would truly cement his legacy across the sport.

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – JANUARY 23: Michael Chandler battles Dan Hooker during the UFC 257 event at UFC Fight Island on January 23, 2021 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

“Whether it’s for the title or not, then I’ve got to win the title, maybe defend it once, show that I can knock people out. Show that I can grapple and wrestle people, wrestle with the best of them and I think showing that complete fighter will be enough to entice Khabib to come out and try in his quest for 30-0.

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“But I have a sneaky suspicion that he will end up 29-and-Chandler.”

The future of the lightweight division is still up in the air as it stands. However, ‘The Eagle’ is focused on other things. For now, the remaining contenders will continue to battle it out and will look to pull away from the pack.

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Darryl Pinto

1472 articles

Darryl Pinto is a senior MMA writer at EssentiallySports. He is currently pursuing his graduate degree in Mass Media (with a specialization in Journalism) out of Xavier’s College and has a year's experience in his current role. Darryl specializes in predictions, reporting, and covering UFC events live.

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