UFC president, Dana White has floated the idea of a lightweight title-eliminator between former interim titleholder, Tony ‘El Cucuy’ Ferguson, and promotional newcomer, Michael Chandler – with the victor meeting the winner of this weekend’s UFC 254 title unification matchup of Khabib ‘The Eagle’ Nurmagomedov, and Justin ‘The Highlight’ Gaethje.
Ferguson, who has yet to feature since the snapping of his record-tying twelve-fight win streak at the hands of the aforenoted, Gaethje in May – has revealed he’s open to an Octagon return in December. On top of that, the Californian has explained how he’s also willing to meet with Chandler if that’s a fight the promotion is interested in booking.
Missouri veteran Chandler, who recently penned terms on a multi-fight deal with the UFC after a gold-laden ten-year stint with Bellator – successfully made 155-pound championship weight this morning in Abu Dhabi, UAE – along with the above mentioned, Khabib and Gaethje – where he serves as a potential backup.
Whilst both Ferguson and Chandler were tentatively targeted as opponents for Lafayette fan-favorite, Dustin ‘The Diamond’ Poirier – the promotion and the latter failed to agree terms on a deal. In turn, the promotion had reportedly tried to score a deal between Ferguson and Chandler, with terms again proving a sticking point, this time with the former.
Speaking with former UFC welterweight contender, Mike Swick on the Real Quick With Mike Swick Podcast, organizational head-honcho White suggested the title-eliminator between Ferguson and Chandler.
“I think right now when you talk about him (Khabib Nurmagomedov) being the greatest 155-pounder ever – he’s beat (Dustin) Poirier, he’s beat (Conor) McGregor and he’s beat a bunch of the other guys in that division to get where he is now,” White said. “I think you look at Michael Chandler and Tony Ferguson, those two fight for a number-one contender spot, he hasn’t fought either one of those guys so there is still that.“
Arriving in the promotion on a two-fight rise, the decorated Sanford MMA trainee, Chandler has scored two consecutive knockout wins over Sidney Outlaw in December, and an August rematch win over former WEC and UFC lightweight best, Benson Henderson.
With the promotion also working on nailing down a lightweight rematch between the above noted, Poirier, and former two-weight world champion, ‘The Notorious’ Conor McGregor for a January 23rd. pay-per-view event, expected to be billed as UFC 257 – the lightweight title-picture begins to shift gear once again.