Michael Chandler eyes December UFC return, says Justin Gaethje has ‘no interest’ in fighting

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Michael Chandler is searching for a dance partner for his return to action but says one fellow top-ranked lightweight isn’t interested in sharing the cage with him.

Chandler (22-6 MMA, 1-1 UFC), a former Bellator champ and UFC title challenger is trying to lock in an opponent before the end of 2021. With two fights under his belt with the UFC, including a loss in a wild back-and-forth battle for the vacant lightweight title against Charles Oliveira at UFC 262, Chandler is still in the mix with the top names of the division.

While it may seem there are plenty of options available for him for his next fight, he says he’s confused why former interim champ Justin Gaethje won’t sign a contract to fight.

“He’s been asked to fight me three or four different times,” Chandler stated in an interview with The Mac Life. “Every time he’s declined. He and I are ranked two spots away from each other. He has not fought since last October. He needs to get a fight in if he thinks he’s gonna fight for the title.”

According to Gaethje, the pair were supposed to meet at UFC 262, but plans shifted and Chandler met Oliveira instead.

“For some reason, him and his camp have no interest in fighting me,” Chandler continued. “So, that’s the fight I want. That’s the way it should be – two of the best guys fighting. It’s also a fight that I know the fans want to see.”

Chandler has his eyes set on returning in December following his loss to Oliveira. “I needed time to recalibrate, heal up, take care of my body, take care of my family,” Chandler explained. However, he’s perplexed why Gaethje hasn’t taken the fight.

Ali Abedelaziz, Gaethje’s manager, recently stated in an interview with MMA Junkie that his client should be fighting for the title in his next. He also firmly stated, “I think Mike Chandler doesn’t deserve anything.”

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