Michael Chandler will not test free agency like Benson Henderson, Josh Thomson and Phil Davis.
The former Bellator lightweight champion agreed to a new multi-fight, multi-year contract with the promotion recently.
“I’m ecstatic to continue my career with Scott Coker and Bellator MMA. It’s obvious that good things are continuing to happen for this promotion and it’s correlating to big opportunities for myself as well,” Chandler said. “I can’t wait to get back in action and test myself against some of these new guys coming in and move back up through the ranks.
“As always, my eyes are on that belt, and it will be back around my waist soon.”
Chandler (14-3) debuted with Bellator in 2010 after making a pair of appearances in Strikeforce. He earned three straight first round finishes, including a 2011 submission of Marcin Held.
After claiming a tournament title that same year with a decision over Patricky “Pitbull” Freire, Chandler submitted Eddie Alvarez to claim the Bellator lightweight title.
Chandler, 29 years old, went on to defend the belt vs. Rick Hawn and David Rickels before losing via split decision to Alvarez in 2013. He dropped a pair of 2014 bouts to current champion Will Brooks, but has rebounded with wins over Derek Campos and Rickels since.
“Michael Chandler is synonymous with our brand and doubles as an incredibly talented and exciting mixed martial artist,” said Bellator president Scott Coker. “Not every fighter or free agent aligns with our future plans, but when looking at Chandler’s resume, inking him to a long-term extension was a no-brainer. I look forward to getting him back in action as soon as possible.”