One-time UFC title challenger Michael Chandler has joined fellow UFC fighter Sean O'Malley in labeling Islam Makhachev overhyped ahead of his highly anticipated lightweight title unification bout against Charles Oliveira at UFC 280.
Chandler has been impressed by Makhachev but only half heartedly , labeled as Khabib’s Nurmagomedov heir to the throne, in the UFC, Iron Chandler believes that crowning him the next best thing at lightweight based on his recent victories over Dan Hooker and Bobby Green is a little premature.
He said “Nothing against Islam, you say he looks great, you say he looks unbeatable at times, but he hasn’t really fought anybody,” Chandler, who is one spot below Makhachev in the UFC lightweight rankings at #5, told in a recent interview with MMA Fighiting. “That’s really the truth. He beat No. 14 and then he beat Dan Hooker, who was on a three or four-fight losing streak.
“Now people will say, ‘well, one of your wins was against Dan Hooker, what are you talking about?’ I fought Dan Hooker at a different time. He had just gone 25 minutes with Dustin Poirier, who at that time was the No. 2 lightweight on the entire planet.”
Chandler is willing to be proven wrong if Makhachev rises to the occasion and defeats Oliveira, but despite being backed by bookmakers to win the fight based on his previous performances and overall dominance in the division, he sees no path to victory for the Dagestani native.
“I think Charles is just too slick, too good, and he’s going to give him fits on the feet,” Chandler said. “I don’t think it will be hard to take Charles down, but I think Charles wins the grappling exchanges.
Chandler is the only person who has been to the ground with Oliveira during his current run and survived to recount his experience. That back-and-forth war is why he's grown so fond of the Brazilian.
When it comes to Makhachev, Chandler simply does not believe that the Dagestani have the credentials to put his name alongside the names of other lightweights that Oliveira has already defeated. He believes his former opponent can win this match stylistically.