After Islam Makhachev called out the one-time UFC lightweight challenger, it appears that no. 4 ranked lightweight Michael Chandler is interested in a fight with a different contender in the division.
Chandler expressed interest in a fight with no. 2 ranked lightweight contender Justin Gaethje during an Instagram live session.
“Gaethje should be next. There’s no doubt about it,” Chandler said. “There is no secret [Islam Makhachev] and Gaethje both share the same management. So, obviously that management would want to say ‘Hey, throw Islam on the trail. Throw Islam on the Chandler trail so that it takes the heat off of Gaethje.’
“But Justin Gaethje, come on bro. You call yourself a fighter, and you are. You’re one of the most exciting guys in mixed martial arts. Be prepared to make a highlight, or be made a highlight, ‘cause that’s what I am. That’s what I’m ready to do.”
Gaethje has not fought since he was defeated by Khabib Nurmagomedov in a fight for the UFC lightweight championship at UFC 254 in Oct. 2020.
Chandler is also coming off a loss while challenging for the UFC lightweight title.
The former three-time Bellator lightweight champion lost to Charles Oliveira at UFC 262 earlier this year in May in a fight for the vacant title.
Not only is a fight between Gaethje and Chandler intriguing from a matchup perspective, but it would also provide some fluidity at the top of the lightweight division.