In past losses, Chandler admittedly stayed away from doing interviews after losses. But the new and improved Michael Chandler is ready to face his loss head on and more importantly, move on.
“The old Michael would have just hid from all of this. And I would have not done interviews,” Chandler said to MMA On Point. “I would have not been reaching out to the media to say, ‘Hey, let’s move past this thing together, tell my story.’ Because the quicker you tell the story, the quicker you can move past it.”
Chandler went into depth about how close the fight truly was. Before Oliveira’s left hook that spelled the beginning of the end for Chandler, he won the first round on every scorecard, even securing two 10-8 rounds from the judges.
“We could very well be sitting here today with me having TKO’d Charles Oliveira because it was that close. And it’s such a game of inches and you’re tied onto a tornado, and everything can be going perfectly just like it was,” Chandler said. “I mean, there was a 10-8 round in the first round on two of the judges’ scorecards. So I got a 10-8 round against Charles Oliveira, who hasn’t lost a round since 2017 I think. He hasn’t lost a fight since 2017, and I don’t think he really, in any of those fights, I don’t really know if he lost any rounds. So he lost one round in the last four years, and it was to me and it was a 10-8 round. So going into the second round, I was confident. It’s good, 19 seconds in, fight’s over.”
Despite his heartbreaking loss in the main event of UFC 262, Chandler acknowledged that this sport provides the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, and you cannot have one without the other.
“I think one of the things about the sport is you can’t accept and take in stride all the good things like the wins. The belts. The money. The media. The attention. The platform. All of the great things that this sport provides you,” Chandler said. “You can’t take all that in stride without also taking in stride, the losses. The pain. The loneliness. The tough times. The second guessing. The tears. The lows.”
While Chandler is of course primarily focused on the loss and perhaps what could have been, there is a part of him that is happy for Oliveira.
“There’s a weird happy [feeling] for Charles Oliveira in it too. Because I think if I could just take out selfish me, take out the selfishness, of course. Honestly, I think I deserve the belt more than he does. I think I’ve worked harder than he does. I think I’m a better fighter than he is. I think I was winning the fight. There’s all of these things that I could say, ‘Hey, I deserve to have that belt.’ But I just fell short that night,” Chandler said. “I’ll be back and I’ll be fighting for that title again. But watching him win it, there’s like a weird, kind of happy [feeling] for him too if I can take my, selfish me, competitor hat off.”
As far as what is next for Chandler, he most likely will not be in the octagon in the near future due to a foreseeable medical suspension as a result of his TKO loss.
While his next fight is not on the first priority of Chandler’s, coming off a title loss, someone in the top five does seem appropriate.