Very hard to imagine anyone handling a loss better than Michael Chandler as he faced the music after suffering a second-round TKO to new lightweight champion Charles Oliveira at UFC 262.
While losing is never easy, Chandler hasn’t shied away from doing interviews or speaking openly about the mistakes he made that night after nearly finishing the Brazilian in the first round but then having the tables turned on him just moments after the second round started.
“I blame this completely on myself,” Chandler said when speaking to MMA Fighting on Tuesday. “I took one on the chin. I didn’t have my hand up and Charles Oliveira was able to finish me. I was very close to finishing him in the first round, which probably makes it even harder to accept. The fact that I was a split second or one second or one more punch of becoming the UFC lightweight champion but I lost in the second round. I got finished in the second round. I’m taking full ownership of that.
“I’ve been in contact with my coaches promising that I’m going to be more disciplined in my striking. I’m going to be more disciplined in my approach to the game. We make some adjustments, we go back to the drawing boards. I am by no means anywhere close to being done with this sport.”
With hopes of eventually earning a rematch with Oliveira down the road as well as the ultimate goal of becoming UFC champion within the next 12 months, Chandler is ready to get back to work as soon as he gives his mind and body some time to heal.
Considering he’s been signed with the UFC for less than a year, Chandler has already flown halfway across the world and cut weight to serve as an alternate for a title fight then came home and promptly knocked out Dan Hooker in his octagon debut just a few months later. After that, Chandler was booked in the title fight against Oliveira and he’s just now taking a breather for the first time since inking his initial contract with the promotion.
Add to that, Chandler understands that head trauma is no joke so he wants to give himself the proper time off before rushing back into another training camp.
“I’ll tell you this — if Eddie Alvarez can beat Justin Gaethje, I can definitely beat Justin Gaethje. I won’t just TKO him. I believe I’ll knock Justin Gaethje out cold. I’ll keep a high pace just like Eddie did. It will be a very fun fight. It’s a fight people want to see.”
Of course hearing the comments from Alvarez might get under the skin of some fighters but Chandler won’t begrudge his former opponent an opportunity to offer his opinion.
Chandler just looks forward to the chance to prove him wrong.