Michael Chandler came up short this past Saturday against Charles Oliveira as the former Bellator champion suffered a second-round TKO loss at UFC 262. Despite the setback, Chandler put on a solid performance and nearly finished “Do Bronx” in the first round. Here’s a look at three potential opponents for the 35-year-old.
— MMA Junkie (@MMAjunkie) May 16, 2021
Dariush (21-4-1) is coming off the biggest win of his career after dominating Tony Ferguson at UFC 262. Since his knockout loss to Alex Hernandez in March 2018, Dariush has amassed a seven-fight win streak, including four wins by stoppage. While the 32-year-old has expressed interest in a title shot next, it’s possible the logjam at 155-pounds could see the Kings MMA product take another fight. For Dariush, it would be a chance to take out a former title challenger and make an even stronger case as the number one contender. For Chandler, a win over Dariush would halt the California native’s momentum and put him in the driver’s seat for another title opportunity.
I miss watching Justin Gaethje fight pic.twitter.com/kSCuGvoCJF
— Euman Trash (@KrayT1to) May 15, 2021
Gaethje (22-3) has won four of his last five fights, with his lone setback coming against undefeated (and now retired) Khabib Nurmagomedov. Last week I argued that Gaethje should fight the UFC 262 main event winner, but the more I think about the style matchup, the more I like the fight. Both fighters started as wrestlers and have evolved into exceptional strikers in the lightweight. Gaethje boasts 19 wins by KO/TKO in 25-career fights, Chandler boasts 10 through 28-career fights. In addition, both are coming off losses which would make sense in terms of matchmaking. The winner of this fight could absolutely secure a title shot.
Rafael dos Anjos
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Dos Anjos (30-13) found new life again in the lightweight division after defeating Paul Felder at UFC Fight Night in November. The Brazilian is currently ranked seven in the 155-pound rankings and hasn’t competed since that victory. “RDA” has had a difficult time finding his next opponent, which is why Chandler makes a ton of sense. For Chandler, it’s a more favorable matchup than the other two opponents listed, and having a victory over a former UFC champion always looks good on the resume. For dos Anjos, it’s an opportunity to take out a highly ranked opponent and a potential last run at another UFC championship.