Brent Primus was thrilled to see rival Michael Chandler officially re-sign with Bellator.
The only thing that will make him happier is if the two can finally have their rematch.
Last June, Primus took the lightweight championship from Michael Chandler at Bellator NYC, winning by TKO 2:22 into the opening round. The bout was waved off when Chandler suffered an ankle injury, a mishap that Chandler has downplayed as a freak accident while Primus has repeatedly stated that it was his attacks on Chandler’s leg that led to the finish.
The two were set to settle the score at Bellator 197 in April, but a knee injury forced Primus to withdraw from that encounter and he has now been out of action for over 400 days. Now healthy, Primus is determined to have the rematch re-booked and he is accusing Chandler of holding up the negotiations.
“I’m just waiting for the contract,” Primus told MMA Fighting. “I’ve heard a date and I’ve heard everything, so I’m just waiting on Chandler and that’s the fight I want. I don’t want to fight anybody else until I fight Chandler and obviously if Chandler really doesn’t want to fight me and he wants to be a little bitch or whatever, then I’ll definitely fight (Patricky) ‘Pitbull’ (Freire) or whoever is next. I definitely want that Chandler fight.”
If this sounds familiar, it’s because Primus and Chandler did a similar dance last November, with each man claiming that it was the other who refused to sign on for a second fight. Primus says he was told that Chandler was considering a move to welterweight, while Chandler says he was told that Primus was taking time off to care for his newborn child.
In a recent interview with MMA Fighting, Chandler did not dismiss another fight with Primus, but he called the lightweight champion “afraid” and put forth the suggestion that Primus might be stripped for inactivity at some point.
Those comments, among others, have Primus even more confused as to why Chandler hasn’t agreed to fight him again yet.
“I’m not gonna say a date because nothing’s been signed, but I’ve got told a date for sure,” said Primus. “They told me the date and they told me it’s Chandler and I’m just waiting on him.
“It’s weird because I’ve been waiting for him to sign the contract for me and him to rematch for the last two or three weeks and he did an interview on The MMA Hour last Monday saying that he hadn’t heard of me, hadn’t heard anything about fighting me anytime soon. It’s like, man, this guy makes up s**t and just lies and it gets old.”
Before their fight at Madison Square Garden, Primus recalls the relationship between the two being respectful, but it rapidly deteriorated following Primus’s championship win. He bristles at talk that his victory was a fluke, but tried to find a logical reason as to why Chandler appears to be angling for other opponents besides himself.
“I think it’s just because I’m only 8-0, I don’t have a big, big name like Eddie Alvarez or some of these other guys,” said Primus. “When he fights me and he loses again, it’s going to really set him back and it’s going to put him back in the 155 division, he might have to go up to 170, I don’t know.
“But if he fights somebody like Eddie Alvarez, who he’s been talking about fighting, or somebody that has a big name, win or lose it’s not going to be as big of a deal because they’ve got a bigger name. That’s the only thing I can think of. It blows my mind. I’m waiting for him to sign that contract.”
The time off has been somewhat of a blessing for Primus as he’s had the chance to spend it with his wife Kaylee watching over their now one-year-old son. Primus was around to watch him walk and say his first word, moments he might have missed had he been in the training camp trenches for the last year.
In his absence, Bellator’s lightweight division has continued to chug along. Patricky Freire and Saad Awad have both put together impressive win streaks, while intriguing contenders like Benson Henderson and Adam Piccolotti recently picked up key victories to remain in the title hunt.
Primus wants to fight them all, even if it means defending his belt in a grand prix format like Bellator welterweight champion Rory MacDonald will soon attempt to do. But before anything else, he needs to take care of Chandler.
“I’m really excited. ‘Pitbull’ and Saad Awad are two guys that are on a three, four-fight win streak and I’ve definitely been keeping my eye on those guys,” said Primus. “I can’t wait to go out there and kick Chandler’s ass, get him past me, and go through all these other guys in the division that actually deserve it.”