Michael Chandler vs. Charles Oliveira Lightweight Title Fight Set for UFC 262

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistMarch 19, 2021

Closeup of a glove and the UFC logo at Ultimate Fighting Championship 73 on Saturday, July 7, 2007, in Sacramento, Calif.  (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

The UFC announced Friday that Michael Chandler will face Charles Oliveira with the lightweight title on the line at UFC 262 on Saturday, May 15.

UFC @ufc

BREAKING: The Octagon heads to Houston! 🚀 🇧🇷 @CharlesDoBronxs vs 🇺🇸 @MikeChandlerMMA for the undisputed 155 title. [ #UFC262 On-Sale April 2nd | Pre-Sale Info: https://t.co/jd8J83sxfV ] https://t.co/HiYP64BvqD

The belt was vacated by retired champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.

The lightweight division is loaded, with Oliveira, Chandler, Dustin Poirier, Justin Gaethje, Tony Ferguson and Conor McGregor, among others, all gunning for a title shot. Gaethje had the last chance, losing to Nurmagomedov in October, so it isn't shocking he won't get the next one.

Likewise, McGregor is coming off a loss to Poirier, while Ferguson has lost his last two matches to Oliveira and Gaethje. So, if anybody has a gripe for being passed over, it's Poirier, though completing a trilogy with McGregor is still on the table:

Ariel Helwani @arielhelwani

There was once a hope McGregor-Poirier 3 fight would get done for May 15 but it’s taken longer than hoped/expected so they moved on from that a while ago, sources say. Won’t happen on June 12 (Figueiredo-Moreno on that card), so latest hope is the July 10 card. We’ll see.

Oliveira and Chandler have earned their respect. Oliveira, 31, is 30-8 and has won eight straight fights. In that stretch, only his unanimous-decision win over Ferguson in December went the distance.

Chandler, 34, is 22-5 and beat Dan Hooker by TKO in his UFC debut in January. He was a three-time Bellator lightweight champion, successfully defending his title three times.

As for the UFC's huge Thursday news, Nurmagomedov is retired despite speculation that he was mulling a comeback after calling it quits following his October win over Gaethje.

"Khabib is retired and doesn't wanna hold up the division," UFC President Dana White texted to ESPN's Brett Okamoto. "Tonight was our final meeting and he is retired."