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Former Bellator lightweight champion Michael Chandler signs with UFC

After a 10+ year carer that saw him win the Bellator lightweight championship three times and become the face of the company, free agent Michael Chandler signed with the UFC and already has his first job.

On ESPN Thursday, Dana White revealed the news and said that the 34-year-old will serve as the backup for UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and interim lightweight champion Justin Gaethje's upcoming unification bout in case one of them drops out.

The Nurmagomedov/Gaethje fight is set for Saturday, October 24th at Yas Island in Abu Dhabi. There has been rumors that Chandler was being targeted as the replacement for Dustin Poirier against Tony Ferguson after Poirier dropped out to failed contract negotiations.

Chandler (21-5) finished out his latest Bellator contract by knocking out former UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson and has won five out of his last six dating back to 2018. He was best known for his two fights with former UFC lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez and for being one of the company's few homegrown stars having fought there since 2010, a span of 23 fights.

He lost the lightweight title to Patricio "Pitbull" Freire in May 2019 by first round TKO.