Michael Chandler (18-4) can become a three-time lightweight champion when he faces Brent Primus (8-0) in a rematch at Bellator 212. The title fight goes down in Hawaii in a joint effort with USO to put on a show for the Unites States Armed Forces
Chandler first met Primus at Bellator NYC in the summer of 2017. It was just halfway into the opening round when Chandler rolled his ankle so severely that he was unable to continue, dropping the championship belt in Primus’ lap.
Chandler, 32, is taking the opportunity for revenge seriously.
“I’ve never wanted to inflict bodily harm on another individual as I do for this fight,” Chandler said per MMA Fighting. “I’ve always wanted to be dominant, but I’ve never actually wanted to beat someone within an inch of their life.”
The 33-year-old Primus may be undefeated, including 6-0 in the Bellator cage, but he isn’t considered at Chandler’s level. He is listed as a -400 underdog and Chandler would tell you as much himself, describing their upcoming rematch as so:
“This is a world-class missed martial artist going out there and fighting a guy who can’t even hold his opponent’s jockstrap.”
An initial rematch was set for Bellator 197 but a knee injury forced Primus off the card. Chandler carried on and submitted late-replacement Brandon Girtz in one round. Primus, despite being the defending champion, hasn’t competed since the win over Chandler.
“He’s holding up the division,” Chandler said. “He needs to step in that cage, take his beating like a man—it’s going to be violent.”
In that same span of 18 months, Chandler has picked up two more victories, defeating Glitz after decisioning Goiti Yamaguchi to kick off 2018.
Chandler currently trains out of both Nashville and Florida, where he hones his standup with renowned Dutch kickboxing coach Henri Hooft. As a result, Chandler is among the most respected fighters outside of the UFC. He competed twice in Strikeforce before storming through the Bellator ranks.
A run of nine straights wins, including dethroning the excellent Eddie Alvarez, made him the undefeated Bellator champion. Despite a subsequent loss to Alvarez, losing the title and sparking a three-fight skid from the end of 2013 to the middle of 2014, allowing gold to slip out of his hands has never done anything to damper Chandler’s title aspirations.
In 2016, Chandler once again lifted the 155-pound Bellator crown with a first-round knockout of Patricky Freire. He then earned a victory over another former UFC champion in Benson Henderson, settling for a split-decision verdict from the judges after opening the title tilt with ferocity.
In all, that injury to Primus is the only thing that mars Chandler’s record since a TKO loss to Brooks at Bellator 131.
So for Chandler, Dec. 14 in Hawaii couldn’t come soon enough, saying his rival should consider the event a “free Hawaiian vacation.” Under one condition: “He has to get beat up to earn it.”