UFC Signs Major Free Agent Ahead Of UFC 254

The UFC has signed a major name after years of anticipation.

During an edition of ESPN’s SportsCenter, UFC President Dana White revealed that the promotion has signed Michael Chandler. The former three-time Bellator Lightweight Champion will also serve as a backup for the main event of UFC 254 between 155-pound champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and interim titleholder Justin Gaethje.

ESPN’s Brett Okamoto weighed in on the big news.

“UFC signs Michael Chandler, per Dana White on SportsCenter. He will be the backup for Khabib vs. Gaethje in October. Huge news. And happy for Chandler. He was always grateful and happy at Bellator, but he’s wanted to face UFC lightweights for a long time.”

For years, Chandler had been teasing a move to the UFC despite being considered to be a mainstay at Bellator. Chandler has been known for his exciting fighting style but he hasn’t been able to mix it up with talent such as Gaethje, Dustin Poirier, and Tony Ferguson.

During the reveal, White made no mention of Ferguson vs. Chandler. It had been reported by Ariel Helwani that the UFC was hoping to book Ferguson against Chandler after talks with Poirier went south. Time will tell if the promotion eventually books the matchup.

Up to this point, Chandler has amassed a pro MMA record of 21-5. He’s beaten the likes of former UFC Lightweight Champions Eddie Alvarez and Benson Henderson. In fact, Chandler knocked Henderson out in his last outing back on August 7.

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