Michael Chandler vs Tony Ferguson UFC MMA News
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Michael Chandler expects to cross paths with Tony Ferguson this summer. UFC president Dana White previously expressed hopes of booking Chandler vs. Ferguson, and that is the fight that Chandler is training for.

Chandler and Ferguson are both ranked UFC lightweights in need of a momentum swing. While Chandler has yet to officially sign the bout agreement, he has started preliminary training and studying the former interim champion.

"As far as how far along it is, I'm assuming that is my next fight sometime this summer," Chandler told CBS Sports. "I don't know the exact date or the location, but that's who I'm training for. That's who I'm watching film of. That's who I'm thinking of fighting. Getting in shape, laying a good groundwork, good foundation right now to go into a nice hard training camp for a fight this summer. I'm all systems go for a Tony Ferguson fight, so we'll see when we get the contract signed and get this thing, moved along and get announced."

Check out the full interview with Michael Chandler below.

Chandler suggested that International Fight Week, scheduled to take place between June 27 and July 3, is a touch too far away for his liking.

"I don't know if I want to wait till July, but I would definitely like to fight on International Fight Week," Chandler said. "So maybe I go run through Tony before that and then I can fight again in July. We'll see."

Chandler (22-7) expects to have an overall edge against Ferguson (25-6). He pointed out how even though Ferguson may have an offensive submission advantage, not even current champion Charles Oliveira could budge Chandler's perfect submission defense.

"I think my biggest advantage, I think I'm just basic and I'm going to keep a high pace, which we know Tony can keep a high pace, but I think it's going to be a little bit sharper," Chandler said. "I think I think my power is going to be a lot for him. I think I'm going to have a speed advantage and an athleticism advantage. I think I'm good in all the areas that Tony is good. I think he's got very slick jiu-jitsu. I have yet to ever be caught in a submission, so I don't see Tony catching me in anything like that. But he is very dangerous on the ground.

"I think his biggest attribute, his biggest strength and the thing that people fear the most is he's got a little bit of a screw loose. That's what excites everybody about these matchups. You never know what you're going to get whenever Tony steps into the Octagon. Whether reaching down, throwing imaginary sand in your face or he's doing spinning elbows and spinning kicks and knees and all kinds of stuff. He's just unpredictable, so you've got to expect the unexpected when you're fighting Tony Ferguson. So he's a hard guy to prepare for. Therefore, it's going to be a very interesting training camp. Try to keep it light, have a little bit of fun and show up on Fight Night and hopefully get a finish."

Chandler, a former three-time Bellator lightweight champion and UFC lightweight title challenger, is coming off a three-round war against Justin Gaethje at UFC 268. The bout was honored as CBS Sports' Fight of the Year in 2021, a sentiment almost universally agreed upon by other media publications. Gaethje made headlines when he described the fight as "kind of boring," a sentiment Chandler disputes.

"I think in Justin Gaethje's mind, I think he was disappointed in his performance and when that comes about, it can play tricks on your mind that it was a boring fight because there are a lot of times when we as fighters get done with our fights and we see the fight differently in our head or we remember how we felt after the fight right away," Chandler said. "Then you go back and watch it and realize it was a much more exciting fight or a much more dominant fight. Case in point, my fight against Benson Henderson years ago. I lost the fifth round, so I felt like I lost the entire fight. I was just so disappointed by the way the fight came to a close after that fifth-round win. Really, I spent the first four rounds dominating him on a lot of people's scorecards.

"So I think what happened there was, I think Justin Gaethje was a little bit disappointed in his performance. Not to mention the fact that he did drop me and wasn't able to finish me. Not to mention the fact that I think I out-Justin Gaethje'd Justin Gaethje in some of those exchanges. I think there is no doubt it was definitely not a boring fight. The Fight of the Year awards on everybody's cards solidifies that. Maybe we'll share the Octagon again and we'll give the fans another treat. We'll see."