UFC lightweight contender Michael Chandler still has championship ambitions, but he’s got his eyes on a teammate who may beat him to it.
Chandler fell short in a Fight of the Year contender against Justin Gaethje at UFC 268. Despite the defeat, Chandler earned plenty of respect and support from the UFC fanbase and is a big name in the lightweight division. He also had to apologize to his wife afterward for the sheer brutality of the contest.
Chandler trains down at Sanford MMA alongside some of the top UFC talents, including Gilbert Burns and, formerly, Kamaru Usman. But one particular teammate of his, Ian Garry, has impressed him since joining the gym last year.
During a recent interview with ESPN’s Megan Olivi, Chandler praised Garry and made quite the prediction for his UFC future.
“We had a couple of conversations and then I was like, okay, obviously the talent is there, you know?” Chandler said. “His body type, his confidence in himself, the part of the world that he comes from – he’s a young, brash Irishman who does not lack confidence in any area of his life. And that’s something I’m attracted to as well. Even as a 35-year-old – a guy who has been in the game for a decade longer than he has – I still try to remember myself as that young, hungry, nothing-to-lose kind of guy.
“And I think my fight style shows it, my attention to detail shows it because I want to live a champion lifestyle. And it’s just awesome to see these guys come in and even Ian himself, I think his game is on a trajectory to the moon. I think he will be world champion in the next couple of years.” (h/t Sportskeeda)
Before signing with the UFC, Garry made waves by earning the then-vacant Cage Warriors welterweight title over Jack Grant at CW 125. Coincidentally, this is the same promotion where his fellow countryman, Conor McGregor, began his rise to stardom.
Garry made a nod to McGregor during his post-fight interview at UFC 268, alluding to his “We’re not here to take part, we’re here to take over” quote.
Chandler and Garry are in different weight classes but could benefit from one another in training. Both men could be in the title conversation by the end of 2022.
Do you agree with Michael Chandler?