Ranked Contender Dismisses Michael Chandler’s UFC Title Shot Eligibility

Michael Chandler

Getty Michael Chandler

Former Bellator lightweight champion Michael Chandler believes he’ll be in line for a title fight should he pick up a win in November. But, Beneil Dariush doesn’t think so.

Chandler, who is ranked No. 5 per the official UFC standings, will step inside the Octagon at UFC 281 on November 12 and battle two-time undisputed title challenger Dustin Poirier.

“Iron” said to Ariel Helwani on “The MMA Hour” last month that if he beats Poirier, who is ranked No. 2, he expects a title shot next.

However, the No. 6-ranked Dariush recently told Helen Yee that he doesn’t think Chandler defeating “The Diamond” would be enough to warrant another championship bout. Iron is 2-2 in the UFC, which includes a lightweight title fight loss to Charles Oliveira.

Dariush pointed to Chandler dropping two fights in a row before picking up a win over Tony Ferguson in his most recent outing. Dariush said it would practically be a “clown show” if the promotion offered Iron a 155-pound title fight considering his up-and-down UFC stint.

“I think he could be undefeated [in the UFC] right now if he had a better mindset,” Dariush said (h/t MMA Fighting). “He’s so focused on being entertaining and exciting, he’s lost two fights. So, that’s why I’m leaning more towards Dustin.

“Honestly, I think he’s just trying to hype himself up [with his title shot claims]. I don’t think that’s true, but if that does happen, man, I will — that’s basically a clown show. The guy just had a title shot lost and then lost again. It doesn’t make sense. After I beat Gamrot, I don’t think there’s anyone who can step in front of me. We’ll see what happens. I think it would be a joke if he gets a title shot.”

Dariush Will Look to Stamp Himself a Ticket to a Title Fight Later This Month

Dariush is scheduled to fight No. 9 Mateusz Gamrot at UFC 280 on October 22. The American is riding a seven-fight win streak, one of the most impressive active streaks in the division.

So, should he beat Gamrot, who is unbeaten in his last four bouts, Dariush hopes to earn himself his first opportunity at competing for a UFC strap.

Chandler Wants Title Fight if He Beats Poirier, Expects Oliveira to Earn Championship at UFC 280

During his appearance on Helwani’s show, Chandler laid out a timeline that would see him competing for 155-pound gold next year.

“I’ve still got my sights set on becoming world champion,” Chandler said (h/t MMA Mania). “I think I beat Dustin on Nov. 12, I think I’m the next guy in line. I fight Islam [Makhachev] or Oliveira, first quarter of next year or summer of next year. Whenever that fight materializes, and I’m your world champion by middle of next year.”

And who will he face for the belt? Chandler shared his belief that Oliveira will win the vacant title at UFC 280 against Islam Makhachev, setting up a rematch between himself and the Brazilian.

“I think Charles wins that fight,” Chandler continued. “I think it’s crazy that Islam is a favorite. I would say aside from Charles Oliveira not making weight in the last fight, which was obviously unprofessional, the guy has looked very, very good. Finishing guys, his hands have come a long, long way, and just his overall confidence.

“He’s our champion, not technically, but he’s in everybody’s eyes our champion for a reason,” Chandler said. “I think he goes out there and beats Islam handedly.”

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