SATURDAY NEWS DIGEST 12/15: Michael Chandler regains championship, wants Khabib, and more

By Michael Hiscoe, Managing Editor

Chandler back on top

Eighteen months after losing his championship to Brent Primus due to a freak leg injury, Michael Chandler regained his throne at Bellator 212 in Honolulu with a unanimous decision win in the rematch. With the championship in hand, Chandler already has his sights set high, namely UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. Chandler said that if all promotional barriers were removed, that’s the fight he would want.

“If we’re talking regardless of organization, Khabib is the No. 1 guy in the world,” Chandler said post-fight (transcribed by MMAJunkie). I’m always wanting to fight the No. 1 guy in the world. And I don’t just say that because he’s the No. 1 guy in the world. I think as we saw tonight, I can do that to anybody in the entire world.”

Chandler also made it clear that he has realistic expectations for his fighting future and knows that the Khabib fight is more of a hypothetical wish than anything else.

“I kind of put myself in a predicament when I say Khabib because people are like, ‘Why are you calling him out?’, but really it was a reporter asking who I wanted to fight. I’m not out here calling out Khabib. But I do think I hold the keys to that lock, to that puzzle that a lot of people can’t solve.”

Saturday Notebook

UFC on FOX and Bellator 213 are both live Saturday night. We have full coverage of both events here at MMATorch.

-Jessica-Rose Clark, who was pulled from her fight set for UFC on FOX tonight after passing out during her weight cut, released a statement to social media: “I’m ok. Really upset, but happy to be here. This camp has been a roller coaster but I thought it would all be ok when I got to fight. Weight cut was more on track than any before. Body gave up on me though. Lesson learned.”

-Joseph Benavidez vs. Dustin Ortiz in a rematch has been booked for UFC on ESPN+ from Brooklyn on Jan. 19. Benavidez will still serve as the alternate for the Henry Cejudo vs. TJ Dillashaw main event.

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