Undefeated Bellator lightweight champion Michael Chandler gets a long-awaited rematch with the man he won the title from, Eddie Alvarez, tonight at Bellator 106.
Their classic four-round battle in November 2011, which Chandler won with a rear-naked choke, was recounted by the former Missouri Tiger in an interview with ESPN.
"Ninety-nine percent of people watch that third round and think I was almost finished," Chandler said. "But to me, I wasn't even close to being finished ... When you're in that crazy storm for two minutes and you're getting your face beat in, your emotions are running high," Chandler said. "Your heart rate easily doubles. And your body starts to fatigue because of the craziness that's going on. But when you get that minute back and you can sit on your stool, you look your coach in the eye as best as you can and consciously let your body get to neutral, back to normal ... As cliche as it sounds, it lets you know you're human. You like to feel pain because it lets you know you're alive. A crazy fight like that, it was great. I don't want to make a habit out of it, because ultimately, I want to go out there and be able to compete in this sport at a high level for as long as I can."
Chandler also reiterated that when he trains, he acts like each new round is a fresh start, which was critical for surviving Alvarez's onslaught in the third round and taking over the fight in the fourth frame.
He also attributed a poor third round to throwing a body kick that landed on Alvarez's hip, badly injuring his foot.
The 24-year-old, who has very rarely been tested by his other 11 opponents inside the cage, also notes that he'd prefer a "quick finish" in the rematch as opposed to another all out war.
Since his first fight with "The Silent Assassin," Chandler has made short work of Akihiro Gono, Rick Hawn and David Rickels.
On the other hand, Alvarez scored back-to-back knockouts over Shinya Aoki and Patricky Freire, before a well-documented contract dispute with Bellator kept him out of action for a little over a year.
Will Chandler solidify his position as one of the best lightweights in the world, or will Alvarez prove he had an off day when he lost the Bellator gold about two years ago?