Michael Chandler Breaks Silence on Accepting Highly Demanded UFC War

Michael Chandler, UFC

Getty In this handout image provided by the UFC, Michael Chandler poses on the scale during the UFC 257 weigh-ins.

UFC star Michael Chandler has given his take on being paired up with Dustin Poirier for his next outing.

Chandler is coming off an incredible knockout win over Tony Ferguson in May at UFC 274. He became the first man to put “El Cucuy” to sleep when he landed a brutal front kick to the face. He doubled down on his historic performance with an electrifying promo, calling out Conor McGregor, Justin Gaethje, and Charles Oliveira for a fight.

One name conspicuously absent from the charged-up demands was Poirier, who took issue with his omission. He confronted Chandler over the issue during the International Fight Week card of UFC 276. The two nearly came to blows in a brief altercation and needed security as well as company staff and fighters to separate them.

Brett Okamoto of ESPN confirmed the fight booking on Wednesday for UFC 281 on Nov. 12, the UFC’s long-awaited return to Madison Square Garden in New York. UFC Chief Business Officer Hunter Campell shared the details of the contest with Okamoto.

“It’s official,” Okamoto tweeted. “Dustin Poirier (@DustinPoirier) vs. Michael Chandler (@MikeChandlerMMA) at MSG in November, per UFC Chief Business Officer Hunter Campbell. Three rounds. In addition to agreeing to the fight this week, Chandler has also signed a new multi-fight deal.”

“Iron” Mike finally shared his thoughts on the confirmed upcoming booking with his rival Poirier in a tweet, writing, “A date. A name. A location. Same demeanor. See you at the top! #ufc281.”

Poirier Thinks He’s a Bad Matchup for Chandler

Following Chandler’s epic promo, Poirier expressed his discontentment on social media with the former title challenger. UFC welterweight Gilbert Burns caught the encounter between the two fan favorites and shared it online with his fans.

Poirier argued he would be a tough matchup for Chandler, reasoning it to be why he did not get challenged.

“I’m a dangerous fight for him. I think I’m a clean puncher, accurate,” Poirier said via MMA Fighting. “He called out Conor [McGregor], think Conor is a dangerous fight for him, too. I’m not saying Chandler’s chinny or anything, but he gets hurt in a lot of his fights, and guys like Conor, they can punch. If you’re getting hurt by Tony Ferguson and dropped by [Charles] Oliveira, guys like me, guys like Conor, if we touch your chin, it’s gonna be bad.”

Chandler Can Relate to Poirier but Wants War

Poirier had been rallying for a showdown with Nate Diaz after a second unsuccessful shot at the undisputed 155-pound gold against Charles Oliveira at UFC 269 in Dec. 2021.

Some suspected frustration to be the root of Poirier’s uncharacteristic behavior, and Chandler shared a similar sentiment despite their ongoing beef. While he may see similarities, he is more than willing to battle it out with “Diamond.”

“I agree with you on how Dustin is and how he carries himself, what he does, the champion he is, the father/husband that he is, the community servant that he is,” said Chandler via MMA News. “I truly believe that you don’t see a lot of controversy coming out of Dustin. I think we’re very similar. He and I have had similar paths, both small-town kids getting after it.

“Sometimes the most similar people kinda butt heads if you will, but I think it does stem back to him saying ‘hey instead of fighting Chandler I’d rather sell hot sauce.’”