Former Bellator champ Michael Chandler might be headed to the welterweight division. Brent Primus, who beat Chandler to win the 155-pound title in June, and top lightweight Patricky “Pitbull” Freire respond — and also discuss a potential fight against each other.
Michael Chandler is no longer just eyeing a lightweight title rematch against Brent Primus.
The former Bellator lightweight champion immediately called for another fight opposite Primus after losing to the big underdog via injury TKO at Bellator: NYC in June, but his stance has since changed. Primus is currently focused on becoming a father and not fighting, and Chandler wants to get back into the cage very soon. So his next fight might not be against Primus — and he’s OK with that — and it might even be up a weight class.
“Honestly, I couldn’t care less (about the Primus rematch) at this point,” Chandler told MMAjunkie Radio (transcription via MMAjunkie.com). “I just — I want big fights. I’m not necessarily wanting to fight Brent Primus next. At this point, I’ve already sat out for a little while. And they’ve let [Primus] act like he can actually call some shots and decide when he wants to fight.”
Bellator president Scott Coker said as recently as two weeks ago that Chandler is still next for Primus. But per Chandler, Coker “said something about February (or) March,” but “Iron” doesn’t want to wait that long.
“That’s out of the question,” Chandler said. “Because I need to fight. And I want to fight. I’ve been teasing that I would love to go up a weight class and take some challengers there. I’ve got some options.”
This isn’t the first time Chandler talked about a move to 170 pounds. In August, Chandler sent future Bellator welterweight title challenger Rory MacDonald a tweet about a potential fight. Chandler once again mentioned the MacDonald bout, as well as a fight opposite veteran Paul Daley.
“Paul Daley had a nice, big impressive win (over Lorenz Larkin at Bellator 183) this past weekend. That’s a fight that I would like, eventually,” Chandler said. “The Rory MacDonald fight is a fight that I would like eventually.”
Primus doesn’t care what Chandler’s next move is. The titleholder has no plans to chase a rematch with Chandler, but is still willing to give him one if that’s what Bellator and Chandler wants.
“I’m not really concerned with what Chandler is doing,” Primus told BloodyElbow.com. “If he wants a rematch, I’m here, but if he wants to go to 170, then good for him. I personally think he’s too small for welterweight, but you never know.”
Primus said that Patricky Freire, whom he agreed to fight over social media after “Pitbull” defeated Benson Henderson at Bellator 183 last month, deserves the next title shot — especially if Chandler does in fact move up to welterweight.
“I think ‘Pitbull’ has earned another shot at the title,” Primus said. “He knocked out (Josh) Thomson and just beat Benson, both big names and really dangerous opponents. But I’m ready for whoever Bellator throws at me.”
Freire isn’t confident in Chandler at welterweight, either.
“Chandler will have a lot of trouble staying at lightweight if the California commission’s weigh-in protocol gets adopted by the other commissions,” Freire told BloodyElbow.com. “But welterweight isn’t good for him. The guys there are giants compared to him. He thinks he’ll have money fights and improve his value, but that’ll backfire.”
“Pitbull,” who in 2017 has defeated Thomson by knockout and Henderson by split decision, wants to fight Primus in February or March, when the titleholder is expected to return. After he wins the title, Freire continued, he wants to defend it first against Chandler, who beat “Pitbull” by vicious knockout last year.
But if Chandler opts to remain at his longtime home of lightweight and ends up getting the next title fight, Freire’s next option is a fight at Bellator 191 in Los Angeles, he said.
“I respect Primus as a person, but not as an athlete,” he said. “I would go in there to beat him up. He has the belt and I want to fight him.
“I believe I already should get the title shot. I’m the clear No. 1 contender.”