Phoenix, AZ — Michael Chandler always always been a gracious fighter with the media, and he was happy to put on his analyst cap at Wednesday’s UFC 274 media day, ahead of his showdown with Tony Ferguson.
The lightweight dream fight turned reality goes down in Phoenix this Saturday— but many are asking just where Ferguson is at in terms of his career at this point.
Chandler gave his answer to media outlets including Cageside Press in Phoenix, and admitted that despite Ferguson’s recent struggles, he remains a scary opponent.
“The thing about Tony Ferguson is, you can talk about he’s lost a step, you can talk about maybe he’s lost athleticism or power because of age or whatnot. Yes, he’s fallen on some hard times with a couple of losses, but just as I said before, when you’re fighting the toughest guys on the planet at 155 pounds, you’re going to take losses,” Chandler explained.
“The thing that makes Tony scary, the reason he is the boogeyman and El Cucuy is, he’s so unorthodox and so unpredictable. Not a man alive can emulate Tony Ferguson in my training,” Chandler, a multi-time champion in Bellator MMA and former UFC title challenger, continued. “There’s nobody at Sanford MMA, which I highly regard as the greatest gym on the planet with the greatest coaches— they really can’t 100% prepare me for Tony Ferguson. Because you don’t know what you’re going to get. What we saw last fight was not what we saw before, and it will not be what we see on Saturday night. It’s a crap shoot and that’s why everybody’s going to be on the edge of their seat. And might I say, dare I say we’re going to steal the show again.”
There’s a good chance they might. Through three fights in the UFC, Chandler (22-7) has two post-fight bonuses, not to mention being part of 2021’s Fight of the Year against Justin Gaethje.
There has been plenty of talk, of course, about Ferguson’s three-fight skid, dating back to May of 2020. Chandler doesn’t seem to think its as dire as some make out, but at the same time, he recognizes that Ferguson may be more dangerous than usual.
“I will say I do think he’s probably going to be at his most dangerous, because you back a guy into a wall, he’s going to come out swinging, especially a guy with a champion’s heart like Tony Ferguson.”
Michael Chandler fully expects to win on Saturday, which means he’s of course predicting that Ferguson will lose — but he doesn’t believe Ferguson will be done in the promotion, 0-4 or not. Not by a long shot. “He’s still a large piece of this promotion in the lightweight division. He’s a guy who puts butts in seats and a guy that people wanna watch fight. He’s got a career as long as he wants to have it.”
Former Bellator MMA lightweight champ Michael Chandler faces ex-UFC interim lightweight champ Tony Ferguson at UFC 274 on Saturday, May 7, 2022 at the Footprint Center in Phoenix, Arizona. Check out Chandler’s full media day scrum above. More coverage can be found below.