Michael Chandler: I may be the future of MMA
Throughout his career Bellator lightweight contender Michael Chandler has never let negativity stop him from achieving his goals. As a former Division 1 wrestler the value of hard work and dedication was instilled in him from the beginning which has contributed to his growth in the cage.
Since his arrival two years ago, Chandler's career has skyrocketed culminating in a title shot against Eddie Alvarez for the Bellator Lightweight Championship at Bellator 54. Despite the fight being postponed due to an injury Alvarez suffered in practice, Chandler’s focus has not waivered.
With over six months of preparation under his belt and now only one week away from the title bout on November 18 at Bellator 58, Chandler discusses his preparations for the life-changing opportunity.
Before the announcement was made how confident were you going into the fight at Bellator 54 ?
Michael Chandler: I had high confidence going into the fight. I’ve had it throughout my whole career especially after winning the Bellator lightweight tournament. In addition my confidence grows everyday training with the guys at Xtreme Courture, so when the injury was announced I didn’t let it phase me I just kept training knowing I was going to have some extra time to get better as a mixed martial artist.
Speaking of Eddie’s Injury when you heard the announcement what was going through your mind?
Michael Chandler: There were a ton of things going on that could have derailed my focus but just knowing everything happens for a reason and everything was going to work out in the end no matter what. So the big thing for me was just staying focused on the task at hand and become a better fighter.
With Eddie Alvarez taking time off to recover, due to your consistent training do you feel you have an advantage going into this fight?
Michael Chandler: Yes. Eddie has a ton of experience on me in MMA but as far as competition and pushing my body to the limit, I was a Division 1 Wrestler training two times a day seven days a week for five years in college so I feel I bring a lot of stuff to the table. I have mental toughness, physical toughness, and I’m a guy who is not going to back down that going to push forward, press the action, and take the fight to Eddie Alvarez something I feel he has never seen in any of his fights.
Have you done anything different in your training since the announcement was made?
Michael Chandler: I follow the same routine. Two days a week with Gil Martinez - making sure my cardio is good, biking, road work, sparring five rounds, grappling, boxing and picking my training partners wisely, guys that are going to push me and mimic Eddie’s style.
What does being World Champion mean to Michael Chandler?
Michael Chandler: It means a lot. It’s not about the money or the belt; it’s about the recognition and respect I’m going to get from beating one of the best lightweights in the world. This is going to make people realize I’m on the top-ten radar and I may be the future of MMA which I believe I truly am.
Looking back at your career thus far what have you learned about yourself through this journey?
Michael Chandler: Being patient and really embracing this whole career because it is such a blessing to be able to do what I do. I sometimes find myself after I trained hard half way through camp all of a sudden feeling run down its starts to weigh on you. For instance if I have a bad day, I’ll have to take a full day off to renew my mind and do things like go for a run or drill so I can recharge myself and really be able to realize this sport and life is not that serious. You got to have fun and enjoy it because if you’re not enjoying it and it’s all about the pay check, those are the type of fighters that don’t make it far.
Finally what does the future hold for Michael Chandler?
Michael Chandler: More fights, getting better, enjoy this beautiful ride, and taking it all as a blessing to be in the situation that I’m in. Hopefully Bellator will to continue to sign good names and give their fighters great fights. I also hope to get a Super fight with a big name someday.
Well that wraps things up, any shout outs?
Michael Chandler: Clinch Gear, Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals, Tru North Management Services, Ken Lester, Randel Aleman, Dave Martin, and all my coaches & training partners at Xtreme Couture.