Although Michael Chandler lost his Bellator lightweight crown in bizarre fashion this past summer, he isn’t necessarily on a mission to reclaim the belt.
An ankle injury rendered Chandler unable to continue against challenger Brent Primus in the first round of their Bellator 180 title bout, and the bout was halted just 2:22 after it began. Primus suddenly became the unlikely lightweight champion, a title he hasn’t defended since winning it on June 24. Despite the nature in which he lost the belt, Chandler isn’t all that interested in exacting revenge against Primus.
“I don’t really want the title shot. I want bigger fights,” Chandler said at a Bellator 192 pre-fight press conference. “That man, part-time fighter, does not deserve to step into the cage with me because it only brings his status up. I’ve been a staple of this division for 10 years now. I think it’s time I start taking bigger fights, calling out bigger names. We’ll see. Me and Scott [Coker] will sit back. We’ll talk about it after this fight. He’s got his plans. I’ve got what I want in my head. I’m focused on Saturday night and we’ll see what happens.”
Rather than wait on Primus, Chandler elected to take a fight against young 155-pound contender Goiti Yamauchi at Bellator 192. Their bout will air as part of the evening’s main card, which begins on the Paramount Network at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT.
According to Chandler, Yamauchi is a more dangerous opponent than the reigning lightweight champion.
“This is a huge test,” Chandler said. “This guy is the scariest guy in the lightweight division coming up. The scariest fight I could have taken, the toughest fight I could have taken, way tougher than the so-called current champion. I’m not really in this business to take easy fights. I’m in this business for a short period of time, and that time will come when I take the gloves off for the last time, and I never want to look back and say I didn’t take every challenge I possibly could. I fought one time in the calendar year 2017, so it’s time for me to step back in the cage, it’s time for me to deliver for the fans, deliver for the people that have supported for me all these year.”
If Chandler takes care of business against Yamauchi, it is not a guarantee that he will remain at 155 pounds for his next Bellator appearance.
“I just want big fights,” he said. “I’m by no means a small lightweight. I’ve got Patricio [Freire] chirping in my ear the last couple years saying mean things since I knocked out his sister. We can meet at a catch-weight, I can cut some weight, or I can go up to 170, take some big fights there. I want to be entertaining, I want to take some big fights.
“I just want to do some big things and holding on to that belt isn’t necessarily what it means to me to be doing big things. That’s not the end all, be all.”