An anticipated battle between Dustin Poirier vs. Michael Chandler is scheduled to happen before the end of 2022.
The MMA Hour’s Ariel Helwani stated on Monday that UFC 281 is “near and likely.” On November 12, UFC 281 will take place at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Poirier hinted at possibly leaving the lightweight division altogether after losing to Charles Oliveira in his second attempt to win the undisputed UFC lightweight championship, but time off has brought the Louisiana native back to the division where he’s still regarded as one of the best fighters in the world.
The UFC’s return to Madison Square Garden will almost certainly feature a lightweight grudge bout.
An encounter between former interim champion Dustin Poirier and former Bellator champion and former UFC title contender Michael Chandler is “near and probable” to be decided upon for UFC 281 on November 12th, according to Ariel Helwani’s report on Wednesday’s episode of The MMA Hour. The heated exchange between Poirier and Chandler at UFC 276 was captured on camera not long before this.
Since losing to Charles Oliveira for the lightweight title at UFC 269 last December, Poirier (28-7, 1 NC) hasn’t competed. ‘The Diamond’ has already defeated Conor McGregor twice in the public eye and defeated Dan Hooker in a thrilling five-round decision. The only fights Dustin has lost in his previous 11 have been title fights against Khabib Nurmagomedov and Oliveira, while his most recent non-title loss was a startling first-round knockout by Michael Johnson in 2016.
Chandler (23-7) is one of Bellator’s all-time greatest fighters and has won the lightweight division’s championship three times. In 2020, he made his long-awaited UFC debut by stunningly knocking out Dan Hooker at UFC 257. With that victory, he was given the opportunity to challenge Charles Oliveira for the vacant crown, but after a promising start, he was defeated by ‘Do Bronx’ via second-round KO at UFC 262. Following a thrilling three-round decision loss to Justin Gaethje at UFC 268 at MSG in November, he recovered with an unbelievable front kick knockout of Tony Ferguson at UFC 274 in May.
Aside from that, November 12th is noteworthy since it marks the anniversary of the inaugural UFC event, the date of the first UFC event held at MSG in 2016 (UFC 205: Alvarez vs. McGregor), and the day the UFC first aired on FOX in 2011. (Dos Santos vs. Velasquez I). We’ll see what the major event this year has in store.
Poirier had already defeated Conor McGregor twice, as well as Dan Hooker, during the same run before the battle with Oliveira.
At UFC 274 in May, Tony Ferguson was knocked out by Chandler, who may have just pulled off the “Knockout of the Year.” After competing in the “Fight of the Year” in 2021 with Justin Gaethje, Chandler was awarded “Performance of the Night” bonus for his highlight-reel finish, which also returned him to the winner’s circle.
Naturally, the lightweights also recently had a confrontation at UFC 276 when Poirier yelled at Chandler as they were both making their way to their seats for the fight. In an interview with MMA Fighting on Tuesday, Chandler said that he didn’t know why there was such hostility between them, but he mainly attributed it to Poirier’s impatience to learn about his next battle.
In the lightweight division, this battle is huge. However, since this is not a title match, it is uncertain whether it will operate as the main event. The MSG events often feature one or more title fights, although in the past, that hasn’t always been the case.
For instance, Jorge Masvidal and Nate Diaz participated in a BMF championship fight in 2019. Since there are still many title fights booked for later this year, Poirier and Chandler will probably be on the main show.
For some time now, Chandler and Poirier have been calling for one another. The two recently got into a fight while watching UFC 276. They have both engaged in conflict with one another, and with Justin Gaethje being the only other lightweight without a fight or injury, they are currently listed as the top two fighters in the division.
In his most recent fight, Chandler knocked out Tony Ferguson in the second round at UFC 274. Prior to losing to former champion Charles Oliveira, Poirier had won back-to-back fights against Conor McGregor.
When they square off at UFC 280 in October, Oliveira or Islam Makhachev will win the lightweight championship. The victor of this fight in New York might be the next title contender.