Michael Chandler is not looking to become the next Ben Askren.
Chandler makes his long-awaited debut when he takes on Dan Hooker in the co-main event of UFC 257 on Saturday night which is exclusive to the
In Hooker, the former Bellator lightweight champion will get a top-ranked lightweight contender for his promotional bow which has rubbed some the wrong way.
But as per Chandler, it was the UFC’s plan all along to get him a top-ranked opponent for his debut.
“I asked for a ranked guy right away,” Chandler told reporters recently. “… I didn’t come in with a sense of entitlement like I deserve this number or that number. It was the UFC’s plan with me to fight a top-five guy right away and we settled with Dan Hooker.”
Given how it’s taken so long for Chandler to finally get a fight booked — with him notably turning down a couple along the way — some observers also feel this is a case of all hype and no substance similar to Askren.
Askren, of course, joined the UFC in 2018 and came in with plenty of hype as he declared himself the best welterweight in the world. He even called for fights with Khabib Nurmagomedov and Georges St-Pierre to name a few.
However, his outings didn’t exactly go as planned as while he did come away with the submission win over Robbie Lawler in his UFC debut, many felt he more or less lost the fight given the controversial nature of the finish as well as the overall beating he took from Lawler.
His next fight saw him become the recipient of the quickest knockout in UFC history courtesy of Jorge Masvidal before he was submitted by Demian Maia in his final outing. Askren would announce his retirement soon after.
With Chandler repeating similar statements in the past and leading up to UFC 257, it’s hard not to see similarities. However, the 34-year-old is planning for a different stint in the UFC compared to Askren.
“Listen, I’m well-aware of Ben’s fights in the UFC, his stint in the UFC,” Chandler said. “I’m well-aware he seemed to be more bark than he was bite in his UFC career, I guess, going 1-2. But I can guarantee right now Ben Askren lays his head on his pillow at night and sleeps like a baby knowing that he came to the UFC, he put his best foot forward, he came up short a couple of times.
“It remains to be seen what the Michael Chandler story will be. I believe it’s going to be a lot different than Ben’s. That doesn’t make me any better or any worse than him. He’s a dear friend of mine, like a big brother to me. So we will see how the story is told. There’s a lot of people comparing me to Ben Askren, which, there’s the Mizzou connection, the friendship that we have. We shall see.”
You can watch the full scrum below: