Michael Chandler has responded after being the subject of some fiery callouts from rising contender Arman Tsarukyan

UFC lightweight Michael Chandler has responded after being the subject of some fiery callouts from rising contender Arman Tsarukyan.

Tsarukyan has entered the year at #8 on the 155-pound ladder and having just enhanced his status as one of the top up-and-comers in the division by outpointing Damir Ismagulov at UFC Vegas 66.

Now, after bouncing back from a razor-close decision loss to Mateusz Gamrot last summer, the Russian-Armenian has resumed his desire to surge up the ranks. But the 26-year-old has long accused those occupying lightweight’s top spots of refusing to defend their places.

One of the main culprits, according to Tsarukyan, is “Iron” Mike.

Having previously called for the former Bellator champion to retire if he’s not willing to fight down the pecking order, Tsarukyan recently insisted that Chandler must defend his ranking in a tweet, and even suggested that the #5 man has the “lowest fight IQ” in the division.

Michael Chandler doesn’t grant Arman Tsarukyan’s wish

While Chandler remained tight-lipped following the callout, he recently addressed his fellow contender’s remarks during an interview with Michael Bisping and Anthony Smith on the Believe You Me podcast.

After claiming to have not seen Tsarukyan compete, Chandler dismissed the suggestion he could fight him next. In the mind of the one-time UFC title challenger, he has bigger fish to fry.

“I didn’t respond because I haven’t even seen him fight,” Chandler said. “I mean, I appreciate the callout. That’s exactly what I would do if I was him. But like, no thanks, man. I’m over here talking about Conor (McGregor) and TUF, you think I’m worried about frickin’ Arman Tsarukyan? It was a good callout though, good for him.”

It’s certainly no secret who Chandler would ideally like to share the Octagon with next. Even beyond his memorable post-fight promo at UFC 274 last May, the 36-year-old had made his desire to face former champ-champ McGregor clear.

And with reports suggesting that the Irishman will return to the fold in a coaching role on this year’s edition of The Ultimate Fighter, Chandler appeared to throw his name into the hat for the opposing position.

With that, it appears that Tsarukyan may not be getting his desired bout anytime soon, which may leave him in a difficult position.

Among those above the 26-year-old in the rankings are Justin Gaethje and Rafael Fiziev, who are set to fight in March, Charles Oliveira and Beneil Dariush, who are reportedly being lined up to collide next, and Mateusz Gamrot, who Tsarukyan met less than 12 months ago.

With that, and given Chandler’s recent dismissive response, it appears that options are limited if Tsarukyan is committed to fighting up the ladder, unless former interim titleholder Dustin Poirier shows interest in the task.

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