After tensions have been mounting between the pair since Chandler (23-7 MMA, 2-2 UFC) made his UFC debut nearly two years ago, a three-round grudge match with Poirier (28-7 MMA, 20-6 UFC) will unfold on the Nov. 12 card at Madison Square Garden in New York.
MMA Junkie confirmed that both fighters have agreed to the lightweight bout after a Wednesday report by UFC broadcast partner ESPN, which cited UFC chief legal officer Hunter Campbell.
Chandler, No. 9 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMA Junkie lightweight rankings, will attempt to produce an encore to his insane Knockout of the Year contender against Tony Ferguson this past May at UFC 274.
After suffering back-to-back losses against Charles Oliveira in a vacant title fight in May 2021 then a Fight of the Year with Justin Gaethje at UFC 268 last November, the three-time Bellator champ bounced back with the incredible front-kick finish of Ferguson.
He will attempt to secure the biggest win of his UFC career when he meets No. 2 Poirier, who hasn’t fought since UFC 269 in December, when he suffered a submission loss to then-champion Oliveira. That fight came on the heels of back-to-back stoppage wins over rival Conor McGregor.
Following his knockout victory over McGregor at UFC 257, Poirier opted to go with a trilogy bout with “The Notorious” rather than a championship fight. That allowed Chandler to slide into his spot, which prompted some friction between the two.
At UFC 276 in July, Chandler and Poirier were caught on camera being restrained after a cageside argument, laying the final piece of groundwork for them to get into the octagon.
With the addition, here’s the updated UFC 281 linuep:
Champion Israel Adesanya vs. Alex Pereira – for middleweight title
Champion Carla Esparza vs. Zhang Weili – for strawweight title
Michael Chandler vs. Dustin Poirier
Erin Blanchfield vs. Molly McCann
Dominick Reyes vs. Ryan Spann
Seungwoo Choi vs. Michael Trizano
Silvana Gomez Juarez vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz
Renato Moicano vs. Brad Riddell
Ottman Azaitar vs. Matt Frevola
Dan Hooker vs. Claudio Puelles
Nicolae Negumereanu vs. Carlos Ulberg
Andre Petroski vs. Wellington Turman