Michael Chandler made his professional mixed martial arts debut in 2009, bringing in a strong wrestling base with All-American honors from the University of Missouri. Chandler opened his career with three finishes in as many outings, including two in the first round. He joined Bellator in September 2010 and rattled off three more first-round finishes. He defeated Lloyd Woodard and Patricky Pitbull en route to winning the Bellator Season Four Lightweight Tournament.
Chandler met then Bellator Lightweight Champion Eddie Alvarez in November, who was ranked No. 4 in the world. In a performance many called the 2011 fight of the year, Chandler submitted Alvarez in the fourth round to become the new world champion. Chandler then defeated veteran Akihiro Gono, TKOing him in less than a minute at Bellator 67.
He faced U.S. Judo Olympian and Bellator Season Six Lightweight tournament winner Rick Hawn in his first title defense at Bellator 85. Chandler locked in a rear-naked choke during a scramble on the ground and submitted Hawn in the second round to remain the Bellator Lightweight Champion. Chandler successfully defended his title in July 2013, needing less than a minute to knock out Season Eight lightweight tournament winner David Rickels.
Record: 12-0 (5 KOs, 5 subs)
Championships and Accolades:
Bellator Lightweight World Champion (Nov. 2011-present)
Bellator Season Four Lightweight Tournament Champion