UFC newcomer Michael Chandler has claimed that he could “easily” win the title vacated by “greatest of all time” Khabib Nurmagomedov, adding that he would happily take “biggest icon” Conor McGregor’s proposed new belt if required.
With the lightweight division’s former ruler stepping away from the octagon last year and promotion president Dana White finally acknowledging his retirement recently, Chandler will face Charles Oliveira for the Russian’s old championship belt.
Their fight will take place at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas on May 16 as the headline draw at UFC 262.
And although Chandler has plenty on his hands with the in-form Brazilian, he is already thinking about what would be his biggest MMA payday yet, which he believes could take place towards the close of the year.
Former Bellator champion Chandler complimented the Irishman’s idea to put an entirely new, McGregor-designed belt on the line for his trilogy showdown with Dustin Poirier.
After McGregor stopped his foe via a first-round TKO in 2014, the pair are tied 1-1 courtesy of a knockout win for ‘The Diamond’ in January,
While their next meeting was being finalized to take place on July 10, ‘Notorious’ suggested that a strap named after him should be up for grabs.
“I love it,” Chandler told Helen Yee, lauding Nurmagomedov while reserving special praise for McGregor. “It’s Conor being Conor. He’s the biggest combat sports icon on the planet.
“The greatest of all time thus far, Khabib Nurmagomedov, retiring opens the door to a crazy, big, exciting lightweight division that I can easily put my name at the top of and then start defending that belt.
“I don’t think [the new belt] is going to happen. [But] I think it’s a cool idea and the prospect of him beating Dustin Poirier and me fighting him – putting my belt on the line in November, December time.
“[He could put] the Conor McGregor belt on the line. I’d love a paddock rare belt, or whatever he said, sitting on my mantel to add to my collection.”
“I want to share the octagon with Conor McGregor sooner or later, eventually, before I retire. How many fights it will take, we’ll see,” he concluded.
Even if it never comes to fruition, McGregor’s Mac Life page on Instagram has taken the initiative and imagined what the McGregor belt could look like.
But not everyone is impressed.
“The BMF [Bad Motherf*cker] belt [for Nate Diaz vs. Jorge Masvidal] started this nonsense,” pointed out one fans.
“When you can’t win a real belt you search for an invented one,” blasted another, while a fellow critic pointed out how embarrassing it would be for McGregor to lose “his own belt” against Poirier.