No.5-ranked UFC lightweight Michael Chandler recently weighed in on a hypothetical bout with UFC Lightweight Champion Islam Makhachev.
‘Iron’ last fought at UFC 281. There, he fell to Dustin Poirier in a bloody Fight of the Night winner. Despite displaying explosive offense, a badly busted up Chandler ultimately succumbed to a third-round rear-naked choke.
Despite his reckless, brawling style that has often cost him in the Octagon, Chandler actually comes from a highly respectable wrestling background. The former Bellator Lightweight Champion was an NCAA Division I wrestler during his time at Missouri College. He amassed a 10-8 record.
Based on a recent interview with Michael Bisping and Anthony Smith, Chandler puts a lot of stock in folkstyle and freestyle wrestling.
“I Think I Beat Islam” – Michael Chandler On Wrestling Makhachev
‘Iron’ opined that, based on his experiences training with students of the Dagestani wrestling style, could out-wrestle Makhachev. Furthermore, he stated that traditional American collegiate wrestling could overcome the Dagestani approach to pressure.
“I’m not in a position to talk about how badly I would beat Islam in a wrestling match. But If I was going to wrestle Islam, I do believe — just, they’re two different styles. I didn’t wrestle a lot of international, quite frankly. But I think, with the Russian [and] Dagestani guys I have wrestled in my gym, who I’m not saying hold a candle to Islam, it’s a different style. But, in my opinion, good ol’ fashioned American Division 1 wrestling works very well against it as long as you’re able to withstand that hand-fighting… But I think I beat Islam in a wrestling match.”
Islam Makhachev’s next opponent, Alexander Volkanovski, is not well-versed in collegiate wrestling. However, ‘The Great’ is a master of the Greco-Roman style which could help him greatly in any potential clinches with Makhachev.
Michael Chandler, meanwhile, is yet to have a new fight announced. He is now 2-3 in the UFC. He picked up dominant wins over Dan Hooker and Tony Ferguson, whilst losing to Charles Oliveira, Justin Gaethje, and Dustin Poirier.