Michael Chandler expects long title reign for Islam Makhachev: “He’s fighting for Khabib’s legacy”

During the post-event press conference, UFC CEO Dana White delighted fight fans with a major announcement. White revealed the main events for UFC 302 and UFC 303–Islam Makhachev versus Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor versus Michael Chandler, respectively.

Speaking to Ariel Helwani on the MMA Hour, Chandler stated that Islam Makhachev will have a long title reign and he will fight the Russian in early 2025.

“He is not fighting just for himself; he is fighting for the entire country. He’s fighting for Khabib’s legacy, he’s fighting for Khabib’s dad’s legacy. It’s a lot deeper,” Chandler provided the reason for his prediction.

UFC 302 and UFC 303 are on the same month in June with the former on the first weekend of the month and the latter on the last. Makhachev is a humungous favorite over Poirier whereas Chandler is an underdog against McGregor. Nonetheless, the victor of the main event of UFC 302 already has their next opponent lined up – Arman Tsarukyan.

The Armenian fought Charles Oliveira in a number-one contender fight at UFC 300 and won via split decision. Nevertheless, Michael Chandler does not think either Poirier or Tsarukyan has a chance against Islam Makhachev.

Michael Chandler previews Islam Makhachev’s upcoming bouts

If all goes well for Islam Makhachev, he will have two more title defenses by the end of 2024. Michael Chandler thinks that is the case as evidenced by his preview of Makhachev’s upcoming bouts, against Dustin Poirier and Arman Tsarukyan.

“I think Islam (Makhachev) is better than him (Dustin Poirier) in every single aspect of the sport except for the sheer boxing, so it’ll be fun, it’ll be entertaining,” Chandler spoke on the main event of UFC 302 as he credited Poirier as the most skilled fighter he has ever fought in professional MMA.

“He’s (Arman Tsarukyan) good on the ground, man. You saw it in the (Charles) Oliveira fight. He’s strong on the ground, very strong base. He’s a strong guy. Um, I still think, I mean, Islam’s got a lot of guys’ numbers, man,” said Chandler about a potential matchup between Tsarukyan and Makhachev.

Michael Chandler has always given respect where it’s due as he recently praised Dan Hooker for accepting to fight him on his debut. Therefore, Chandler’s assessment of fighters in the division carries weight as there is little bias in it.

Do you agree with Michael Chandler’s prediction for Islam Makhachev? Leave your thoughts below!


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