Now that UFC president Dana White has stated that he is moving past the Dustin Poirier vs Tony Ferguson fight, what options are available of Ferguson? UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov is currently slated to face the first fighter to defeat Tony Ferguson in 7 years in Justin Gaethje. Outside of Dustin Poirier, there are no top contenders available for Tony Ferguson to fight. Now, here comes Michael Chandler. The fact that there have been no Michael Chandler related announcements from Bellator MMA, leads me to believe that he is in fact heading to the UFC lightweight division. He would need to be in the USADA pool for at least 6 months before the fight could take place, but which would mean that the earliest that a Ferguson/Chandler fight happen would be early 2021. This would be the test for Chandler to see if he can hang with the very top of the UFC lightweight division. For Tony, it would be the biggest fight available next to Dustin Poirier or Conor Mcgregor (who has a lot of things on his plate outside of the cage).
Former interim UFC lightweight champion Tony “El Cucuy” Ferguson recently tasted defeat against Justin Gaethje for the first time since 2012. Which in MMA, is more than a few lifetimes. Ferguson holds victories over Gleison Tibau, Josh Thomson, Edson Barboza, Lando Vannata, Rafael dos Anjos, Kevin Lee, Anthony Pettis, and Donald Cerrone.
Former Bellator lightweight champion Michael “Iron” Chandler has spent the majority of his career defeating lightweights outside of the UFC octagon. “Iron” (16-5 BMMA, 21-5 MMA) has notable wins over Eddie Alvarez, Akihiro Gono, Benson Henderson x2, Brent Primus, and Sidney Outlaw.