Michael Chandler thrust himself back into lightweight title contention with a stunning KO of Tony Ferguson at UFC 274..

Chandler was beaten in a vacant title fight with Charles Oliveira last year before going on to lose a back-and-forth war with Justin Gaethje later in 2021. But he bounced back in style to condemn Ferguson to a fourth consecutive defeat.

Underdog Ferguson dropped Chandler with a crisp one-two in the opening minute but the former title challenger recovered to land a left hook of his own. Chandler then took the fight to the canvas with a double-leg takedown but suffered a bad cut as Ferguson attacked with his elbows from bottom position.

Chandler finished the show in stunning style seconds into the second round with a hellish front kick to the face which left Ferguson prone on the canvas and out cold. He was eventually helped to his feet as Chandler celebrated.

“We don’t really train that much, it just happened,” said Chandler. “He’s so long but he does keep his hands out on the side so there is a lane up the middle. We were going to go fake shot-uppercut a lot too but it turns out he was tagging me in the first round.

“What the fans at home will never, ever feel is when you’re down and you have a round like I just did – it wasn’t that decisive and Tony Ferguson showed up – you’ve got to pull something from inside of you. God came through and here we are.”

Oliveira was stripped of his lightweight title yesterday when he failed to make the 155lb weight limit for his clash with Gaethje. The rivals clash in the main event later tonight and Chandler called on the winner to face him in a rematch.

“I’m ready to come back,” he added. “The main event; there is not one MMA fan who doesn’t want to see me rematch you Charles or rematch you Justin Gaethje. If the UFC have a momentary lapse and give the title shot to someone else, I’ve got one dude on my mind. Conor McGregor, I am the most entertaining lightweight on the planet. I want you at your baddest and I want you at your best; you and me at 170lb.”

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