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Brent Primus is no fan of Michael Chandler. When asked to describe this weekend’s opponent, the Bellator MMA lightweight champ was not at a loss for words.
“Poor sport, little punk,” Primus told Sherdog.com. Friction between the pair has gone on for over a year, ever since the undefeated Primus took the Bellator lightweight title from longtime champion Chandler, and Primus plans to settle things on Friday night -- and put an end to what he claims is a constant stream of nonsense coming from Chandler.
“In every interview he makes stuff up. Lies and crazy sh*t comes out of this guy’s mouth,” Primus said. “He said I’m a part-time fighter. He said I didn’t want to fight him. He says I’m busy coaching classes. I haven’t coached a class in years. I’ve been waiting for this guy.” That wait has been a long one for Primus, who hasn’t competed in the cage since fighting Chandler at Bellator NYC last June.
An attempt to book the rematch was delayed by a Primus injury. Primus acknowledges his part in the postponement of this fight but maintains that before that occurred, “Iron” held up a rematch after having second thoughts on the bout.
“Before [his injury], Bellator told me, ‘you’re fighting Michael Chandler this day and this time, we’re just waiting for him,’” Primus said. After a few weeks, however, he was alerted to a change in plans. “Then they called me back and said, ‘He doesn’t want to fight you right now, he wants to fight somebody else. He wants to fight [Goiti] Yamauchi, and then we’ll see what’s going on after that.’” Primus claims he has the documents to prove the validity of these claims.
The situation confused him on many levels. “My mind was blown. Me and my manager were like, ‘What the hell is going on?’ Then he was saying he didn’t want to fight for the belt. What is wrong with this dude. He’s freaking crazy,” Primus said, frustration apparent.
Chandler’s delaying tactics and Bellator’s tolerance of them are why Primus agrees with featherweight champion Patricio Freire who, in a recent interview with Sherdog, called him the promotion’s “golden boy.”
“He’s their golden boy and whatever he says goes,” Primus said. “He gets to pick his fights and he picked the wrong one when he picked me [the first time]. Even right now, we’re fighting and they’re posting him on their Instagram. And posting the workouts and all this stuff. They don’t do that with me. They just love this guy so much,” said Primus.
The situation was a strain on Primus mentally as well as financially, which is why he is so ready to return to action. “I need that money. I need at least two to three fights a year, and sitting out for a year and a half is not easy on a bank account. And not easy on my family,” Primus said. “I am just so excited we are finally getting this on.”
After seventeen months away, Primus feels Chandler will see a different man when he faces him at the Neal S. Blaisdell Center in Honolulu, Hawaii, in part because he claims to be much healthier than the first time the pair faced off. “When I first fought Chandler, I had a torn knee [and] I had a messed-up rib,” he says. “My cartilage was messed up in my rib and I couldn’t grapple. I was pretty banged up. I am 100 percent right now so I feel way better than I did in my last fight.”
The Oregon native also feels he will be changed technically and strategically for this bout. “I’m definitely a better fighter for sure,” Primus said. Furthermore, he is confident in the game plan developed by his head coach Colin Oyama, and this time around, he plans to show far less respect to his Power MMA Team opponent. “I respected him too much in the first fight. I thought he was a badass [and] I thought he was a true champion. You win like a champion and you lose like a champion, and he did not know how to lose like a champion.”
Primus plans to add another loss to the former champion’s résumé, and unlike their first meeting, which ended in a bizarre injury to Chandler’s left ankle barely two minutes into the fight, he wants it to be definitive this time. “I want to go out there [and have] no controversy,” Primus said. “I don’t want the ref to stop it, no matter what happens. I want to finish this guy.”
Assuming he is successful in his defense, Primus is ready for what could be next, and sympathetic to those in the division that have had to patiently wait for a chance at the throne. “It sucks for the guys that have been put on hold because of our stuff. I apologize,” Primus said. “Now [we] are going to get it on. So, I can move on and [let] all the other lightweights come over and get some.”
One of those lightweights hoping to get a crack at the title is the aforementioned Yamauchi, who recently told Sherdog he thought Primus would be a “good matchup” for him, and that he was the best grappler in the division.
Primus didn’t agree. “Him saying that he’s the better grappler; I think that’s hilarious,” he said. “Chandler was in his guard for over two rounds and he didn’t do much at all. He can say what he wants, but if he keeps on winning and does everything right, then we will have our [fight] and he can prove that. Or try to prove that at least.”