Michael Chandler, Bellator’s Lightweight champion, is considered among fans and media alike to be among the very best Lightweights in the world. With an impressive record of 12-0 with 10 finishes, Chandler is an absolute fire brand athlete. In 2011, after running through Bellator’s Lightweight tournament, Chandler had a date with the champion, Eddie Alvarez. After an incredible battle, their fight was granted fight of the year honors, and left many fans clamoring for a rematch.
Finally, after two years, the fans will get the rematch they want. The fight was supposed to be the co-main event of Bellator’s first PPV event, but an injury to Tito Ortiz scrapped the main event, and the PPV as a whole. Now, fans will be treated to this incredible rematch for free on Spike TV this Saturday night as the main event of the evening. In this first of two segments of my interview with Michael Chandler we discuss all things Eddie Alvarez, the PPV, and Bellator.
His thoughts on the Bellator PPV falling through
I never look at the negatives of things. I try to focus on the positive in everything. It is definitely unfortunate that Tito got hurt, first and foremost. It’s also unfortunate that the PPV fell through, but I am sure I will be on Bellator’s next PPV whenever that is. I am not really worried about it. More importantly, the fans should be pumped for a live and free night of fights on Spike TV with a great lineup. I feel honored and blessed to be the main event.
Did your contract change at all moving off of PPV?
No, not really. The PPV buy points changed a little, but I am not worried about that. It is one of those things where I am not worried about the money. I am not even sure how much I am making for this fight necessarily. It would take a little while to add it all up and figure it out. I don’t focus on that, instead I focus on the task at hand which is winning this next fight against Eddie Alvarez.
The excitement of fighting top-flight competition
I am absolutely excited about fighting Eddie. There is no doubt that Eddie is one of the Top 10 Lightweights in the world. It is always exciting for me any time I get to step into the cage. My job is to fight and I love it. I love that I was put in this sport. If you are going to fight, you might as well fight great competition and Eddie is that guy. I am excited to show the improvements I have made in the last two years since the first fight. I am excited to compete and I am sure it will be a war.
Similarities to the first fight
I definitely want to get the finish, but I don’t want to take that big of a beating and I don’t want to fight as long as the first fight. My goal is to always get in and out of the cage as quick as possible. The fans of course want to see a war where two guys go out there and slug it out. When you are fighting such a great competitor like Eddie Alvarez, and me being such a fierce competitor as well, we will both be hard to finish as we showed in the first fight. It has all the potential to be just as good if not better than the first fight. My goal, however, is to not let it go that far, but we will see.
The possibility of engaging in a war with Eddie Alvarez
It definitely excites me. If I would have lost the first fight against Eddie, I think I wouldn’t be as excited. Basically, when you lose a war like that it is because the other guy got the better of you. He gave you an opportunity to get out of that fight, and you gave it to him. I think Eddie might have to deal with that aspect because I took everything he could throw at me in the third round and did not go down. I then went out and finished him in the fourth. I know he is a great competitor and has got a ton better in the last two years, so there is definitely a possibility for it to be a war. I am ready to fight 25 hard minutes if I have to. I put all the hard work in so I could, but I am hoping it does not have to go that way.
Eddie’s long layoff
He is a veteran and has fought in a cage around 20 times, so he knows how to compete and knows his way around a cage. I don’t think ring rust or his inactivity will affect him too much, but we will see. I will come in and push the pace right away, so there we will see how he reacts. We are not going to know until Saturday night, and until then it is all speculation.
The amount of fights he is getting
2011 was great, I fought in the tournament and had a really good run before winning the title. 2012, it obviously slowed down, but I have been very vocal about it. Myself and my manager were both very vocal to Bjorn Rebney and Bellator that I want to fight. I want to be active, I am young, hungry, and I want to put on dominant performances for Bellator. As you see, they have delivered. This will be my third fight in 2013, and I look forward to fighting at least 3 times next year. It was all just a process of turning out tournament champions. That is what they are doing now. Unfortunately, Dave Jansen got injured, but as soon as he is ready I will be able to fight him. We also have Tiger Sarnavskiy and Will Brooks who are fighting in the tournament finals. Essentially, after fighting Eddie, there are already two guys waiting to fight me. By the time I fight the first guy, there will be another Lightweight tournament. I could not be happier.
Who wins: Sarnavskiy or Brooks?
I honestly do not know. I think Sarnavskiy was a lot more impressive in his last fight than Brooks. I thought Will Brooks looked gassed, slow, and lethargic. I thought him and Saad Awad were a little bit more explosive than that. We will see what happens when they fight, and I look forward to beating whomever they put in front of me.
Check back Thursday for second segment of my interview with Michael Chandler. We talk about Alliance MMA, the UFC, the Pearson/Guillard decision, comparisons to Gilbert Melendez, his flying kick against Pitbull, Chael Sonnen, and much more.