Former Bellator lightweight champion Michael Chandler is one of the most exciting fighters in the UFC; however, Matt Brown thinks the talented athlete isn’t fully utilizing his arsenal, saying that “Iron” elects to entertain fans over securing victories.
Brown recently spoke with MMA Fighting about Chandler’s fight IQ. Chandler is 2-3 inside the Octagon and boasts a professional mixed martial arts record of 23-8. Iron has firmly stamped himself as a non-stop action fighter who has earned either a “Performance of the Night” or “Fight of the Night” bonus in four out of five of his UFC matches.
In his last outing, Iron took on ex-UFC interim lightweight champion Dustin Poirier in a wild fight in November, and he dropped the bout by a rear-naked choke. Brown told the outlet that Chandler needs to change his fight approach should he want to contend for another UFC belt.
“He needs to fix his strategy,” Brown said. “In my particular style, that’s just how I fight. That’s how I beat guys. I go in, I wear them out, I make it a tough fight, kind of a Dustin Poirier kind of thing. We go in, we make it dirty, make it grimy, and guys get worn out and overwhelmed by it.
“Now Michael Chandler, we get the feeling — at least me and you and the people watching — he doesn’t have to do that. He is fighting for the fans. There’s basically two different ways to fight. Do you want to fight for the fans or do you want to fight for yourself and win?”
Brown Compared Chandler to Famous Boxing Brawler Arturo Gatti
Like UFC president Dana White did, Brown also likened Chandler’s UFC run to that of Arturo Gatti’s career, a career that marked him as one of the most electric action fighters in boxing history. But, Brown pointed to Gatti fighting a fan-friendly style instead of developing “those skills” that were needed to best the likes of Floyd Mayweather Jr.
“Floyd pieced him up easily,” Brown said. “That’s exactly it. Gatti never developed those skills. That’s sort of the difference with Gatti and Chandler. I think Chandler, as much of a compliment as it is to be compared to Arturo Gatti, [with] Chandler we see the ability to go out there and win titles. I think most of us assume, we don’t know for sure, but we assume he probably could have beaten Dustin Poirier with a smart strategy. But he’s playing Dustin Poirier’s strategy. He’s playing Justin Gaethje’s strategy when he does that.
“When he goes out there and wings it like that. Does that mean you’re going to lose every time? No, because it works for him a lot of times too, but what you’re doing is you’re playing those guy’s game. Take them out of their game if you have the ability to do that. A lot of guys don’t have the ability to do that. There’s guys that’s kind of what they’re stuck with.”
Brown Says Chandler Chooses Not to Fight Like a UFC Champion
Brown said that fans remember Mayweather for his dominance inside the ring and the late Gatti for his wars. And the UFC veteran thinks Chandler’s career is trending toward the latter’s.
“What do we remember Gatti for? The wars. What do we remember Mayweather for? Not any wars,” Brown said. “We remember him for piecing people up. That’s my whole criticism here. Not to knock on Michael Chandler, love the dude and love his style and love everything about him. It’s his career, he can do whatever he wants. But what I see is the ability for him to go out there and be that dominant champion, and he simply chooses not to.
“He chooses to be Arturo Gatti when he could be Floyd Mayweather. Whether that’s right or wrong, we’ll have to see if he ever changes up his style, but that’s what it seems to me is his own choice.”