Michael Chandler, Bellator’s Lightweight champion, is only days away from the biggest fight of his career. The long awaited rematch with Eddie Alvarez is finally upon us, and I know the fans can not wait. In my first segment of my interview with Chandler, which you can read here, we spoke about the PPV fallout, Eddie Alvarez, the amount of fights he is getting, and much more.
Today we talk about training at Alliance MMA, the UFC, the Pearson/Guillard decision, comparisons to Gilbert Melendez, his flying kick against Pitbull, Chael Sonnen, and much more.
Training at Alliance MMA
It is crazy the people that god has put into my life. From the time I started wrestling when I was 14 years old to now when I am 27, I have been so lucky. I started my career at Xtreme Couture where I had a great group of guys. Then I made the move to Alliance, and now I have taken my game even further and I am even better. I am excited that I have a great group of guys around me, a great coaching staff, and a great gym to be associated with.
It is a great team atmosphere out here and we all push each other. We are all trying to take each others heads off during sparring and then we shake hands and have a good time afterwards. Too many fighters talk about “me” too much. They say “I did this” or “I did that”, when really without your training partners and coaches you wouldn’t be accomplishing anything in this sport.
It is an individual sport, and therefore you need training partners to push you to the next level. Quit focusing on the me and focus on the we. That is how I have progressed in my career.
The possibility of fighting in the UFC in the future
The only thing on my radar is fighting Eddie Alvarez this weekend. That is really all I can control and all I can look forward too. It is not about fighting certain people, it is about breaking barriers and getting as good as you possibly can be. What are you going to do with this gift that you have been given and how good are you going to let yourself get. We are all given a certain amount of talent and a certain amount of time, so what are you going to do those minutes, those hours, those weeks, months and years you have been given. I am focusing on this fight most importantly and the future will take care of itself.
Is your situation similar to Gilbert Melendez when he was the Strikeforce Champion?
I don’t know honestly. I am in the sport and I fight, but I don’t have a great sense of what the fans and media thinks. I try to not get caught up in all of that stuff. Guys will always get overlooked, people will say what they want and have their opinions, but at the end of the day it is about fighting and getting better. If I end up getting ranked, whether it is top 5, 3, or number 1 in the world it is because the fans and media put me there. I know I get one step closer to the top every single time that I fight. November 2nd is my next opportunity, so I will take it full steam ahead.
The Ross Pearson/Melvin Guillard decision
It was a really tough situation, but I think the referee did a good job.
As the knee was coming, Ross’s hand was coming down, so technically he was downed opponent. If you are not a fighter you may not understand, but once you throw a punch it is hard to stop it. It is like slamming on your brakes at 70 MPH in a car. You can’t stop on a dime.
The knee was coming as the hand was going down, so it was technically illegal, but I don’t think Melvin is a dirty fighter or that he did it on purpose. Ultimately, the fight got stopped right there because of that 4 inch cut. So, now they will fight in March and do it again. It also works out great for me because that means Ross and I will be in training camp at the same time again. I look forward to punching him in the face for 8 weeks straight.
His thoughts on the ‘downed opponent’ rule
The rule should not be changed because I think it is part of the game. It might be a little bit cheap, but people can tell whether you are a downed opponent or just touching the mat to make yourself down. The judges and the fans can tell, so if you are going to be that guy to play those games, then you will be ridiculed for it. That negative feedback you would get should be enough for fighters to not play those games. I would not like to see the rule changed though because then you will say, well was he playing the game, or was he not playing? It is a hard gray area in the sport, and luckily we have some great referees who know what they are doing. I know I would not like to be a ref in those situations, so I take my hat off to them.
Favorite career moment
Winning the title by finishing Alvarez was probably my greatest moment. Like I said, I don’t hang my hat on that win and I put a ton of work in since then. I have a lot more fights to win in this sport, but that was the fight that put me on the map. That fight showed people in the MMA world that I am someone who should be looked at as a top lightweight in the world.
The flying kick on Patricky Pitbull
That was absolutely not planned and I have never trained it, nor have I ever thrown it again. I have no idea what happened. I basically go into autopilot mode when I am fighting and sometimes crazy things happen and that was one of them. I am glad there was a great camera angle where they can keep showing it and replaying it because it was pretty cool.
Although I don’t agree with anything that comes out of Chael Sonnen’s mouth, as a fighter, he is awesome. He comes forward, picks you up and takes you down. There is no flashiness to it besides coming forward, putting pressure on people, and breaking people. I love that about his fighting style. I hate how much he talks and the jokes he makes and all of that type of stuff, but he is a great fighter.