Dustin Poirier and Michael Chandler will finally settle their differences in a three-round bout at Madison Square Garden on November 12 for UFC 281.
Tension has been building between the two fighters since the moment Chandler signed with the UFC in late 2020 and appeared to break through the surface at UFC 276 when a verbal altercation between them was recorded by UFC Welterweight contender Gilbert Burns.
The two have had a unique back-and-forth since Chandler entered the promotion, each of them dismissing each other as an opponent at different moments. The fight was reported by Ariel Helwani to be in the works nearly a month ago, with Chandler reportedly initially wanting the fight to be scheduled for UFC 282 in December. Today it was reported by ESPN per UFC Chief Business Officer Hunter Campbell that the fight has been signed and that Chandler has also signed a new deal with the UFC. Further details on what Chandler’s new deal with the UFC would entail are still yet to come, but the contract was spurred on by this matchup in UFC 281.
Poirier, currently #2 in the UFC’s Lightweight division, has not stepped into the octagon since his title-fight loss to Charles Oliveira in December of 2021. Despite the loss, “The Diamond” remains one of the biggest names in the division following his back-to-back TKO wins over Conor McGregor. This has made Poirier a force to be reckoned with, and a certain fan favourite ahead of UFC 281.
After falling in his final two fights of 2021 to Oliveira and Justin Gaethje, the #5 ranked Chandler rebounded this past May with a brutal KO of Tony Ferguson, likely to be on the short list for Knockout of the Year. Chandler has never fought anyone outside of the UFC Lightweight top six in his time with the promotion, and finds himself within striking distance of a second shot at UFC gold despite his promotional career spanning less than two years.
In a battle between fan favorite fighters, both men have the chance to remain relevant in the UFC Lightweight title picture. Which of these lightweight titans will claim victory at UFC 281, and how could the Poirier vs Chandler beef finally end? Only time will tell.
Current UFC 281 Lineup:
UFC Middleweight Title Fight: Israel Adesanya vs. Alex Pereira
UFC Strawweight Title Fight: Carla Esparza vs. Zhang Weili
Dustin Poirier vs. Michael Chandler
Erin Blanchfield vs. Molly McCann
Dominick Reyes vs. Ryan Spann
Dan Hooker vs. Claudio Puelles
Seungwoo Choi vs. Michael Trizano
Silvana Gomez Juarez vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz
Renato Moicano vs. Brad Riddell
Ottman Azaitar vs. Matt Frevola
Nicolae Negumereanu vs. Carlos Ulberg
Andre Petroski vs. Wellington Turman
main image credits: