Michael Chandler responds to callout from Islam Makhachev

No. 9 ranked lightweight contender Islam Makhachev put the lightweight division on notice in his first main event at UFC Vegas 31.

Makhachev dismantled no. 14 ranked lightweight Thiago Moises, capping off his victory with a fourth round submission by way of rear-naked choke.

After his second victory of 2021, Makhachev made an array of callouts.

The Dagestani first set his sights on Rafael Dos Anjos in his post-fight interview with Paul Felder. He also mentioned at the post-fight press conference that he would be interested in a fight with his mentor Khabib Nurmagomedov’s former rival, Tony Ferguson.

But the callout that he got an immediate response from, although it was not much of an affirming one, was Michael Chandler.

Makhachev was doing a backstage interview when he saw Michael Chandler, who was on the ESPN post-fight show as an analyst, watching his interview from a nearby monitor. 

From there, Makhachev took an opportunity to make another callout to the lightweight title challenger.

“I see here, [on] ESPN, Michael Chandler,” Makhachev said. “Why not? Let’s go Chandler. You come for easy fight in UFC? No, you come from Bellator. We want to give you a hard time, let’s do this.

“Chandler, if you hear me, let’s go. Let’s do this. You come from Bellator, I want to check your skills.”

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Despite hearing him loud and clear, Chandler elected to remain in an analytical mindset rather than directly respond to Makhachev’s callout.

“Slick little call out right there,” Chandler said on the ESPN post-fight show. “But he did what he said he was gonna do tonight and he did what he needed to do tonight which was go out there and put a big stamp on his performance. And now he’s doing what he needs to do as well. 

“He’s sitting at number nine, he wants to say as many names as he possibly can. Slick little call out man, the man impressed tonight. I got to take my fighter hat off, be the analyst tonight. He did a phenomenal job against a very tough man and kid’s got a bright future. We’ll see what happens.”

While there was no direct response as to whether or not Chandler would be open to a fight with Makhachev, Chandler is the only fighter that Makhachev called out who at least gave acknowledgement.

Whether or not he actually wants to fight Makhachev is something beyond the knowledge of any fellow fighter, fan or spectator.