In the lead up to their November 7th bout, Michael Chandler has piled on the praise for Justin Gaethje as he prepares for his toughest challenge.
Michael Chandler doesn’t seem to harbour the usual hatred that most fighters hold in the leadup to his fight against Gaethje. When talking to Brett Okamoto on ESPN MMA he seemed almost like a fan talking about his opponent.
Chandler’s respect is justified as Gaethje has taken out some of the top lightweight fighters and done so in style. Prior to his loss against former champ Khabib Nurmagomedov, Gaethje was on a strong run, defeating the likes of Tony Ferguson and Donald Cerrone. While he has seen some excellent fights from his opponent, Chandler believes we will see Gaethje at his best on November 7th.
Big fights coming to the Big Apple 🍎
— UFC (@ufc) October 17, 2021
Michael Chandler on Justin Gaethje.
Chandler said that he and his team are “Anticipating the toughest Justin Gaethje that we’ve ever seen.
“He’s coming off of a loss, I’m coming off of a loss, essentially shattering both of our dreams of becoming the UFC champion so I expect him to come out with a fire, I’m gonna come out with a fire and it’s gonna be a good night at Madison Square Garden.”
One benefit that this knowledge brings Chandler is that it can drive him on. Chandler made no attempts to downplay his opponent but claims that this realistic approach will help him prepare.
“I will say that I think Justin Gaethje is the scariest guy that I’ve ever fought. He’s the craziest guy that I’ve ever fought. I’ve fought some very tough guys in the past but he by far takes the cake so there’s that bit of added, intrigue to it.
“It just wakes me up a little bit earlier in the morning. It helps me go a couple of extra rounds. Be a little more focused in my preparation because I know this guy ain’t going away quickly and I know what he wants to do inside that octagon. He’s done it twenty-something times before. Phenomenal fighter, dangerous fighter.”
Embracing the darkness
Okamoto then explored the idea that Gaethje claims to love the chaos and the darkness that these fights bring. While this claim may seem like an act to some, Gaethje is the one man that Chandler would believe it of.
“Listen, when people say stuff like that it’s always blunder… unless it’s Justin Gaethje.
“I truly believe when he says those types of things, that the average human being says, ‘does he really think that or is that just him building himself up as a real-life superhero?’ The dude really thinks that… he is truly called to that, he loves the chaos. He loves the darkness.”
Despite his respect for Gaethje, Chandler shows no fear.
“I’m prepared to go to the darkness just like he is.”