UFC lightweight contender Michael Chandler isn’t looking to fight Dustin Poirier because of their recent bad blood outside of the Octagon.
Chandler and Poirier are in the works to fight one another at UFC 281 at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 12. The UFC is targeting the bout and it could be potentially finalized in the coming weeks.
Chandler and Poirier, two former title challengers, are also two of the most explosive fighters in the UFC lightweight division. Their recent performances have garnered the attention of fans and both of them are two popular athletes amongst the UFC faithful.
Chandler and Poirier came face-to-face and nearly got into a physical altercation while sitting cageside at UFC 276. This began the rumbling about a potential fight between the two of them coming to fruition.
But despite their hostilities over the past year towards one another, Chandler isn’t looking to face Poirier in a grudge match, he’s looking to get back to the title.
During a recent interview with MMA Fighting, Chandler explained why a fight with Poirier isn’t personal for him.
“I agree with you on how Dustin is and how he carries himself, what he does, the champion he is, the father/husband that he is, the community servant that he is. I truly believe that you don’t see a lot of controversy coming out of Dustin,” Chandler said. “I think we’re very similar. He and I have had similar paths, both small-town kids getting after it. Sometimes the most similar people kinda butt heads if you will, but I think it does stem back to him saying ‘hey instead of fighting Chandler I’d rather sell hot sauce’.
“I respect him as a fighter, I respect everyone that I’ve ever fought… that’s not what motivates us to fight each other,” Chandler clarified. “Every once in a while you get those real grudge matches…I’m not gonna fight him because of that verbal altercation because I don’t like him, or I’m looking to prove something. If I do fight him, I’m going to say yes and sign the contract because I want to fight for the title. He’s a guy ranked ahead of me, deservedly so, and I go out there and beat him and get the title.”
The tensions between Chandler and Poirier appeared to start when Poirier questioned Chandler getting a quick path to the title shot last year. Before signing with the UFC, Chandler enjoyed a long tenure with Bellator that resulted in multiple reigns as the promotion’s lightweight champion.
The buildup that could come with a fight between Chandler and Poirier could be epic, but Chandler is looking at the bigger picture when it comes to what a win over Poirier could do for his standing in the lightweight division.