Michael Chandler and Tony Ferguson 'agree' to stellar lightweight clash at UFC 274

The May 7 card is headlined by champion Charles Oliveira's title defence against Justin Gaethje

Michael Chandler, right, during his lightweight bout with Justin Gaethje at UFC 268 in November 2021. Getty Images
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Former title contenders Michael Chandler and Tony Ferguson look set to face off at UFC 274 in May – the same card headlined by the lightweight championship clash between champion Charles Oliveira and Justin Gaethje.

The news was first reported early on Thursday by Sports Illustrated, with multiple outlets then reporting that both Chandler and Ferguson had agreed to the bout. The UFC has yet to confirm the fight has been booked. UFC 274 takes place on May 7 at the Footprint Center in Phoenix, Arizona.

Chandler, whose professional MMA record reads 22-7, last competed at UFC 268 in November, in his Fight of the Year defeat to Gaethje at Madison Square Garden. The unanimous decision loss represented the American’s second successive defeat – at UFC 262 last May, he lost out to Oliveira for the vacant lightweight crown.

Chandler, the division’s No 5-ranked contender, is a former three-time Bellator champion. He debuted in the UFC in Abu Dhabi in January last year, where he knocked out Dan Hooker.

Ferguson, meanwhile, has lost his past three bouts having for a long time been in the title picture. The American (25-6) has suffered the string of defeats to Geathje, Oliveira and Beneil Dariush, meaning he has dropped now to the No 7th challenger in the lightweight rankings. Previous to the Gaethje reverse at UFC 249 in May 2020, Fergsuon had put together a 12-fight win streak.

The card at UFC 274 is topped by Oliveira’s second title defence, with Gaethje the division’s No 1-ranked contender. In his last outing, at UFc 269 in December, Oliveira secured a superb third-round submission victory against Dustin Poirier. He has won his past 10 UFC bouts.

Gaethje, a former interim champion, has contested the lightweight crown before, losing the undisputed encounter to then-champion Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 254 in Abu Dhabi.

Updated: March 10, 2022, 7:52 AM