- MMA columnist for ESPN.com
- Analyst for “MMA Live”
- Covered MMA for Las Vegas Sun
The UFC is finalizing a massive lightweight matchup between Dustin Poirier and Michael Chandler for UFC 281 in November.
Contracts have not been signed but will be issued to all parties on Tuesday, UFC Chief Business Officer Hunter Campbell told ESPN. The 155-pound bout will take place on the pay-per-view card at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Chandler, 36, initially wanted to fight Poirier one month later in December in Las Vegas, while Poirier has been ready to fight for months. Chandler agreed to the fight earlier this week, as well as a new deal with the UFC.
“Michael couldn’t be happier with the new deal and he’s ready to put on a war at Madison Square Garden,” said Dave Martin, Chandler’s longtime manager.
Poirier (28-7) has made no secret of his intent to fight Chandler in New York. The former interim champion has basically been advertising the matchup for weeks. This will be his first appearance since he came up short in a lightweight title fight against Charles Oliveira last December. Prior to that, Poirier had recorded back-to-back wins over Conor McGregor.
Chandler (23-7) is a former Bellator MMA champion who signed with the UFC last year. He has been extremely busy inside the Octagon, with wins over Dan Hooker and Tony Ferguson. He also came up short in a lightweight title fight against Oliveira, as well as a fight of the year candidate last year against Justin Gaethje in Madison Square Garden.
Poirier and Chandler are the Nos. 2 and 5 lightweights in the world, respectively.
A middleweight title fight between Israel Adesanya (23-1) and Alex Pereira (6-1) will headline UFC 281.
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