Still undefeated. Bellator lightweight champ Michael Chandler (11-0) has added an Olympian to his list of triumphs, as he defeated top contender Rick Hawn at last night’s Bellator 85 event (Jan. 17). The victory came on the promotion’s biggest platform to date, and though Chandler lived up to much of his hype, he himself was not satisfied with the win. Then again, the champ could not recall most of the bout shortly after.
“I don’t [feel like I did my job]. I mean I went out and got the finish and I don’t remember how exciting the fight was. I don’t remember anything about the fight. If you say it’s exciting, then I think I did my job. but I don’t remember any of it really, so will see. Will see when I look back at it.”
“I say it every day, I would not be sitting here, first of all without my family and the amazing people I have in my life–but without my wrestling background. Without going through the grueling, disgusting, painful five years at Missouri, made me into the man I am today. I’m so glad I have that as my background and wrestling is the reason I am the Bellator Lightweight Champion.”
With so much accomplished at the age of 26, Chandler is not one for complacency. As to where that drive comes from, it permeates through his friends and family and his desire to oblige them with a victory.
“I think it’s the obligation I have to my family who put me in this position. The fact that I’m sitting here on two capable legs, two capable arms, to be able to go out here and do this type of stuff in front of millions of fans. To do interviews and that type of stuff. I have the greatest job in the world, so to give anything but my absolute best is sacrificing the gifts that God has given me. Steve Prefontaine said that, I didn’t say that, so don’t quote me on that one. That’s something I live by everyday. I’ve been given such a great opportunity, that’s my drive. I don’t care if I’m fighting a 90-year-old man, I’m training eight weeks like I’m about to fight ‘The Rock’. “
As for the UFC top two, Benson Henderson and Strikeforce import Gilbert Melendez, preparing to go to battle, Chandler says he does not take notice of their standings.
“I don’t know, man. I’m not good at this kind of stuff. You can interview me a thousand times, you ask me fight predictions, I’ll be like, I don’t know, I didn’t know they were fighting. You know, I don’t follow the sport much. They are obviously both what, top what ten lightweights in the world – top five, top two. Who knows? I’m sure it will be a great fight.”