A fight between Chandler and Gaethje makes sense not only from a ranking standpoint, but it could also provide UFC fans with a lot of excitement.
So, with that in mind, here are three reasons why Michael Chandler vs. Justin Gaethje may just turn out to be a classic.
1) Both looking for a fight
The fact that both men are constantly engaged in wild fights is an easy explanation why a fight between Chandler and Gaethje may be a masterpiece.
Chandler and Gaethje have also competed in college wrestling. At the University of Missouri, Chandler was a four-time NCAA Division I All-American. On the other hand, Gaethje was an NCAA Division I All-American at the University of Northern Colorado at the same time.
But, no man is a traditional wrestler within the octagon. Chandler and Gaethje both choose to use their grappling in reverse, which allows them to stay on their feet and launch missiles at their rivals.
And it’s a style that’s succeeded for both of them so far in their MMA careers. Chandler and Gaethje have a combined record of 44-9. In addition, 19 of their 53 fights have been won by KO or TKO, with just nine going the distance.
Essentially, if you put them in the octagon together, the chances of either man going for a takedown are extremely poor. Instead, they’ll most likely stand in front of each other and throw shots before one of them can no longer stand.
2) Both have a lot more to gain than lose
Chandler and Gaethje are two of the UFC’s top lightweight contenders right now.
Gaethje is currently ranked second, while Chandler is ranked fourth. In essence, both men are legitimate candidates for the UFC lightweight championship.
However, neither man is currently in a position to win the title outright. This is due to Gaethje’s failure to dethrone Khabib Nurmagomedov for the title last October. Meanwhile, at UFC 262, Chandler was clearly stopped by Charles Oliveira in a contest for the vacant title.
If either Chandler or Gaethje were next in line for a shot at the UFC lightweight championship, a fight between the two would almost certainly be a flop. We’ve seen in the UFC on several occasions that if a fighter has already won a title shot, they’re more likely to fight in a healthy manner in order to keep the shot.
Gaethje and Chandler, on the other hand, have little to lose and everything to gain right now.
If the UFC matches them, a win for either man could catapult them right back into contention for the UFC lightweight title. And, as long as the fight was fun, even a defeat wouldn’t matter all that much.
Both men’s natural styles will always say we’d be in for a barnburner. However, since both men have nothing to lose, the probability of them putting on a crazy war only increases – making now the ideal time to sign the battle.
3) Less durability could make for more exciting fight
It may sound strange, but in the UFC, the less durable fighters always put on the more exciting fights.
Sure, it’s always entertaining to see fighters use their iron chins to withstand blows that seem to knock out a rhino.
However, if neither fighter is able to score a knockdown or come close to a finish, the battle can become tedious and the sense of danger can often vanish.
With that in mind, if the UFC had scheduled a fight between Chandler and Gaethje in, say, 2015, we might have been in for one of those types of fights.
Chandler was 12-3 and had only been stopped once at the time, while Gaethje had one of the best chins in the sport and was 13-0.
Both warriors, however, have been around the block a few times now. They’ve fought some of the world’s strongest 155lbers, including Dustin Poirier, Eddie Alvarez, and Charles Oliveira.
They’ve also lost a total of six fights by KO or TKO. Both are capable of taking a blow. But, unlike in the early stages of their careers, both men can now be injured and prevented.
That means that if the UFC books a fight between the two now, there is a better chance of a stoppage. This will increase the level of enthusiasm even further.
Essentially, one of the two men would almost certainly be knocked out. And regardless of which one it is, it will most likely be a lot of fun to watch.