Michael Chandler isn’t the first high-profile Bellator champion to make the crossover into the UFC and he surely will not be the last.
Among the most notable acquisitions in UFC history, the first that comes to mind will probably be the likes of Eddie Alvarez and Ben Askren — both men that have connections to Chandler. However, each’s level of success varies greatly.
In the entire history of Bellator and UFC fighters crossing over and holding titles, Alvarez has been the only one to go from Bellator and capture UFC gold. For the unbeaten Askren, he’s one of the rarer cases considering how poorly his stint went compared to the rest. But due to the hype that’s been generated from Askren and Chandler’s eventual arrivals, it’s drawn similarities.
“Listen, I’m well-aware of Ben’s fights in the UFC, his stint in the UFC,” Chandler said during UFC 257 media day (h/t The Body Lock). “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.”
On Saturday, Jan. 23 at UFC 257, three-time Bellator lightweight champ Michael Chandler makes his long-awaited promotional debut. Standing in his way for the co-main event will be New Zealand’s “Hangman,” Dan Hooker.