By Nick King
On May 14, 2011 Michael Chandler won the Bellator lightweight tournament which awarded him $100,000 and a shot at the lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez. The number one contender was expected to face Alvarez at Bellator 54 however Alvarez pulled out due to an undisclosed injury. Chandler will now get his long awaited shot at the belt on November 19, 2011 at Bellator 58.
“It’s been 6 to 7 months now, so i’m anxious to get into the cage, go out there and perform. I kind of step it up every single time i perform and showcase more and more skills. I’ve matured in 6 to 7 months as a mixed martial artist. Eddie pulled out of the first fight due to injury, but that was fine as i got an extra month to become better. I don’t want to go out and fight an injured Eddie Alvarez, because i don’t want to leave any questions in anyones mind. I want him at 100% so it doesn’t take anything away from the win i’m gonna get this weekend.”
Eddie Alvarez is the Bellator Lightweight Champion and is ranked as on of the top 5 lightweights in the world by many in the MMA media. You would think this would phase most of his opponents, but it doesn’t phase Chandler at all.
“I like Eddie as a fight. I’ve said it before, he is the type of fighter we need in the sport. He goes out there and puts on exciting fights. He keeps a high pace and pushes the fight. He’s always trying to finish fights, so he’s definitely a guys that i’ve been looking forward to fighting since i signed with Bellator. It’s a great opportunity for me being a young fighter. I’ve only been in the sport for two years and being able to fight a top 5 or top 10 lightweight in Alvarez. I’m gonna give him more of a fight than he has ever had before. Not many people have really put the pressure on him and really brought the fight to him. A lot of guys fight tentatively and they let Eddie have his way with them. Eddie’s always moving forward and his opponents moving back. In this fight i’m going to always be moving forward and always putting the pressure on him. I’m always going to be in his face, for one, five, twenty five minutes or however long this fight goes. I want to go out there and really push the pace and keep the pressure on him, like he has never had in his career in my opinion.”
Chandler’s past few fights have gone to the judges score cards. With the way judges have scored fights these days you never really know how that will play out. Dont worry with this fight though, he is looking to get in there and have his way with Eddie Alvarez.
“Obviously i can’t ever predict what’s going to happen in a fight. All i know is i’m coming out singing, i’m punching, kicking, picking him up, slamming him and just beating him up. Whatever happens, happens, I’m not looking for a knockout, i’m not looking for a submission, but i am definitely going out there to finish the fight.”
Most fighters fight a few times a year. Chandler has fought 5 times in just over twelve months, this upcoming fight with Alvarez being his sixth. His record going into the fight with Alvarez is 8-0.
“Right when i signed with Bellator they were going to give me two fights within the first two or three months. Then a couple months later i was going to hop in the tournament and get three fights in three months. I’ve only been signed with them (Bellator) for a year, but this is already my sixth fight under contract. That’s why i like Bellator.”
Being a fighter that is undefeated, you would think that there is a fear of losing. Not for Chandler, he has that get in there and fight attitude and if you lose you lose.
“Honestly it doesn’t matter, if i lose i lose. All i can do is go out there and fight hard. Of course i’m joking by saying “If i lose i lose”, but honestly it doesn’t really matter. I don’t let the pressure get to me. The world doesn’t end if i go out there and lose. I train to win and go out and fight my hardest. I’m going out there to win and i am going to win. There’s no fear in failure, because if you foxus on the fear it’s going to hold you back. I’m almost 100% positive i’m going to win so it doesn’t matter.”
Chandler has been on a very strict diet heading into this title fight eating only chicken and vegetables. Have you ever wondered what a fighter craves? What he wants to eat the minute he steps off the scale, or immediately following the fight?
“I’ve been on a strict chicken and vegetable diet these last couple of weeks and it’s been pretty monotonous. I enjoy eating healthy, but definitely after weigh-ins i’ve got it all planned out. There’s a Chipolte’s a couple of miles from our hotel so we’re gonna eat Chipolte (Chicken and Rice). After the fight, i’ve been craving some pizza.”
To see what an 8-0 fighter looks like check out Bellator Fighting Championships this Saturday November 19, 2011. The main event will be an unbelievable fight between Michael Chandler and Eddie Alvarez for the Lightweight Championship.