One of the talked-about would-be matchups at 155 pounds right now is between Michael Chandler and Tony Ferguson. Recently, “El Cucuy” put out a tweet urging Chandler to “man up” and accept a fight, which irritated top ten lightweight Gregor Gillespie.
Chandler didn’t respond to Ferguson’s call-out on Twitter, but he did so in a recent appearance on The MMA Hour. According to him, the UFC offered a fight with Ferguson upon his signing in 2020, but the former interim champion supposedly turned it down.
“I signed with the promotion, the UFC, in September,” Chandler explained (via MMA Fighting). “Got offered the Oct. 24 card. Tony’s name was on that list. He declined.
“Then I made weight Oct. 24 (for UFC 254) and then three weeks later he said he wanted to fight me in December, which I pulled myself out of training camp, wasn’t ready to go back into a training camp and then he went all over social media and said that I turned down a fight, wouldn’t fight him and I was afraid of him.
“But once again, it was a short notice, Tony type of offer. It’s got a Tony-shaped bow on top of the offer.”
Chandler’s last Octagon appearance happened at UFC 268 against Justin Gaethje. After a lengthy recovery from that three-round barnburner, the former Bellator champ says a February fight with Ferguson doesn’t make sense.
“It took me six weeks to recover from the last one to actually stop hobbling around and then I heard something last week that he wanted to fight me in February, which was about five weeks’ notice,” Chandler said. “Whenever a guy says ‘hey, I want to fight this guy but I want more money’ or ‘I want to fight this guy but it’s got to be this date.’ ‘I want to fight this guy but it’s got to be at this weight.’
“When you add these little caveats and asterisks, are you really asking for the fight or are you only doing it on your terms in a scenario where you know a guy’s not ready to fight?
“I’m not ready to fight in February. It’s five weeks away. Yeah, there was some rumblings. He was tweeting and then him and Gregor [Gillespie] were tweeting. Twitter’s a place where people talk. I would love to fight Tony but we’ve got to do it on a normal time frame.”
“Everybody knows what a normal time frame is, you need 8 to 10 weeks to train for a fight,” he added. “I take this sport very seriously. I take these fights very seriously. So no, I’m not going to fight a guy on five weeks’ notice just saying yes to a fight 8 or 10 weeks after a previous fight.”
The 37-year-old Ferguson (25-6) is currently on a three-fight skid. He last fought at UFC 262 in May against Beneil Dariush and lost via unanimous decision.