NEW YORK – Michael Chandler may not be getting his desired results in the octagon, but Dana White praised him for his performances.
Chandler (23-8 MMA, 2-3 UFC) was submitted by Dustin Poirier (29-7 MMA, 21-6 UFC) this past Saturday at UFC 281, pushing him further away from the title picture.
In five UFC appearances, Chandler has won four bonuses, including his Fight of the Year against Justin Gaethje, and Knockout of the Year contender against Tony Ferguson. His record may be under .500 in the octagon, but White had nothing but nice words to say about Chandler in the aftermath of the event, comparing him to legendary boxer Arturo Gatti, who was known for his heart and exciting fights.
“Yeah, he’s fun, he’s like our Arturo Gatti,” White told reporters and MMA Junkie at the UFC 281 post-fight news conference. “You know what I mean? He’s a fun guy. He’s always in fun fights. He comes to fight, man. He leaves it all in there. That’s why people love him. He’s fun to watch.”
Prior to the event, Chandler vs. Poirier was one of the most anticipated fights of the night at UFC 281, and White wasn’t surprised to see it deliver.
Chandler was able to wobble Poirier early. “The Diamond,” however, turned things around and almost finished the fight at the end of Round 1. Chandler rallied to win Round 2 with his wrestling, but Poirier surprised by reversing a Chandler takedown and sinking in a rear-naked choke in Round 3 to win the fight.
“Yeah, I mean, it was awesome,” White said. “It was one of the best first rounds I’ve seen in a very long time – maybe if ever. There was no doubt going into tonight that that was going to be the Fight of the Night. We should have probably just paid those guys yesterday.”
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 281.