Michael Chandler opens up about UFC 262 loss: ‘I am still world-class’

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HOUSTON – In the wake of his UFC 262 knockout loss, Michael Chandler thinks the difficult result is the next chapter of a bigger story.

In Saturday’s main event, Chandler (22-6 MMA, 1-1 UFC) was knocked out by Charles Oliveira in Round 2 of their vacant lightweight title bout. Shortly after the result, Chandler reflected on the loss.

“I feel like I’m right where I’m supposed to be. I do,” Chandler said. “… I just felt like I was in the right moment. A smile was on my face again. I feel like I’m fighting on borrowed time still. There were moments in my career where I’d never thought I’d end up here. I never thought the door would open and now it has. The first one was the highest of highs.”

Knowing that he lost to such a top-tier competitor makes the loss sting a little less. But more importantly, Chandler recognizes that, like his other defeats, he will learn and move on.

“This one, it’s not the lowest of lows, because Charles Oliveira is world-class,” Chandler said. “Fighting for a UFC title is a world-class opportunity. But as my son knows, every young man falls, but every young man gets back up. The sun will rise tomorrow. When I fly home without the belt, we’ve got some explaining to do – but we’re going to figure it out.”

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The fight only lasted one full round, plus the 19 seconds it took Oliveira to drop and finish Chandler in Round 2. In the opening five minutes, Chandler had Oliveira in a compromising position and nearly finished the fight. It’s a game of inches, Chandler reflected.

“It’s the fight game, man,” Chandler said. “It’s 4-ounce gloves. You zig when you should have zagged and before you know it, Charles Oliveira is getting the belt wrapped around his waist instead of yours. Here we are. I’ve been here before, after losses. This sport moves quickly. I am still world-class. Anybody next to get me into line for the title again, I believe I can beat them and beat anybody in the top five so we’ll see what happens.”

With the loss, Chandler’s three-fight winning streak was snapped. The defeat marked the third time Chandler was stopped with strikes in his professional career.

UFC 262 took place Saturday at Toyota Center in Houston. The main card streamed on ESPN+ pay-per-view after prelims on ESPN/ESPN+.