Meet Michael Chandler; The Veteran Fighter’s Age, Wife, Height, Net Worth & UFC Career

Meet Michael Chandler; The Veteran Fighter’s Age, Wife, Height, Net Worth & UFC Career

Michael Chandler has steadily developed into one of the leading fighters in the mixed martial arts (MMA) space since his debut in 2009. Chandler, who currently competes as a lightweight in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), fits the textbook definition of grinding to the top with his unparalleled mentality and grit. 

A three-time Bellator Lightweight World Champion who is, at present, ranked No. 5 in the UFC’s lightweight rankings, Chandler is arguably one of the biggest and best free agent signings the UFC has made in recent years. Having come up through the Bellator competition as their unrivalled No. 1 lightweight contender for many years, Chandler has gone on to further solidify his legacy in the highly competitive UFC. 

With a bout against legendary UFC champion Conor McGregor on the horizon, we wanted to dive into the life and career of one of the competition’s most beloved fighters.

Michael Chandler Quick Facts

Name:Michael Chandler
Age:37
Date of Birth:24 April 1986
Nationality:American
Height:5 feet 8 inches / 173cm
Weight:71 kgs
Net Worth:$6 million (estimated)
Instagram:@mikechandlermma – 1.6m followers

Who Is Michael Chandler?

Who Is Michael Chandler?
Source: thesun.co.uk

Michael Chandler is an American professional mixed martial artist who competes in the lightweight division of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), and formerly the Bellator competition. Born in High Ridge, Missouri to Michael Sr. and Betty Chandler, Michael was the second of four children and was raised in an ordinary hard-working, blue-collar, middle-America household. The son of a union carpenter and a secretary, Chandler had a will to work instilled into him from a young age, and carried this mindset through to his fighting career.

Nicknamed ‘Iron Mike’ after iconic boxer Mike Tyson, Chandler has established himself as one of the strongest competitors in the UFC after a decade spent earning his name in the Bellator competition. Chandler currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee, with his wife Brie and two children, Hap and Ace. 

Michael Chandler’s Fighting Career

Junior Career

Having passed on scholarship offers to smaller schools following his High School graduation, Chandler took a leap of faith and entered onto the University of Missouri (MIZZOU) wrestling team in 2004. Forced to back himself in a tough environment, Chandler came to define his time at MIZZOU by his determination and by outworking those around him in the high-level college wrestling space. Despite considering himself to be “the most unaccomplished young man on the team”, Chandler went on to amass a 100-30 record, All-American honours and a leadership role on the team.

Michael Chandler’s Fighting Career
Source: @WeAreWrestlers via Twitter

Three months after graduating from MIZZOU in 2009, Chandler competed in his first MMA fight, debuting in Strikeforce and winning by first round technical knockout (TKO). From there, he has gone on to forge an impressive career at the top level of MMA…

Professional Career

In October 2010, after well and truly proving himself in Strikeforce, Chandler debuted at Bellator 31 and defeated Scott Stapp via technical knockout in the first round.The match was contested at a catchweight for Chandler to test his suitability for the lightweight division he eventually became dominant in.

Chandler earned his first-ever Bellator Lightweight World Championship in a rescheduled bout against Eddie Alvarez just over a year after he debuted in the competition. He defeated Alvarez via submission in the fourth round in a highly-entertaining matchup in November 2011. Alvarez would regain the title in a main event match at Bellator 106 in 2013 because of a split decision. 

Chandler would go on to earn the lightweight title back after knocking out Patricky Pitbull via a stellar first round performance and knockout in 2016. A 2018 unanimous decision handed Chandler his third Bellator Lightweight title after he defeated Brent Primus by unanimous decision. 

During his decade with the Bellator competition, Chandler was widely considered to be the best lightweight fighter outside of the UFC. After resigning with Bellator in 2018, the poster boy of the comp officially made his way to the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) in 2020, signing as a free agent to compete in the lightweight class he previously made his own at Bellator. 

Professional Career
Source: @mikechandlermma via Instagram

Since then, Chandler has accrued two wins and three losses in the UFC, although remarkably he was awarded for ‘Performance of the Night’ and ‘Fight of the Night’ plaudits in four of his five matches. 

Michael Chandler Stats

Michael ‘Iron Mike’ Chandler is a 37-year-old professional mixed martial arts fighter from the United States with a 23-8-0 pro MMA record. His most recent fight was at UFC 281 in November 2022 where he lost to Dustin Poirier by Submission at 2:00 of Round 3.

Michael Chandler Stats
Source: bleacherreport.com

Michael Chandler has 23 wins with a 79% finish rate, including 11 by knockout, 7 by submission and 5 by decision. Moreover, Chandler holds the record for the most wins in Bellator history, most submission wins in Bellator lightweight history, and most knockout wins in Bellator lightweight history.

What type of fighter is Michael Chandler?

A force to be reckoned with, Michael Chandler has been involved in some of the most action-packed fights in mixed martial arts history. Combining his experience as a wrestler and MMA fighter, Chandler employs a style which has often left UFC fans and judges alike in awe of his relentlessness, self-awareness, and power. 

Chandler has become known as a vigilant puncher who aims to maximise the impact of his power punches in short bursts. Fighting out of a wide, bladed stance, Chandler is efficient at linear movement, effectively meaning he relies on short-range punches and a consistent jab at range to score points and maintain workrate without overly expending energy. 

What type of fighter is Michael Chandler?
Source thesun.co.uk

Often Chandler looks to take advantage of mistakes in his opponent’s offence by bouncing in and out of range and therefore establishing a disciplined rhythm to disguise his entries and draw out his opponent’s offence. If his opponent reacts to the forward bounce, they’ll often find themselves up hitting air, while if they stop reacting, Chandler will often bounce in behind it and take them by surprise.

Chandler has earned plenty of fans along the way for not just being a respectful and genuine individual, but an intelligent and natural entertainer, rather than a showboater.

Michael Chandler Vs Conor McGregor 

Michael Chandler’s next fight is set to arguably be his biggest yet, with Chandler on the verge of taking on UFC icon Conor McGregor. McGregor, who is famous for putting the UFC on the map globally, is 3 years Chandler’s junior and considered past his prime, however he remains a massive drawcard for UFC adherents and sporting fans in general for his behaviour outside of the Octagon. 

The 37-year-old Chandler’s preparations to take on UFC trailblazer Conor McGregor have so far been chronicled in Season 31 of The Ultimate Fighter series. The series features both fighters as coaches guiding a group of male bantamweight and lightweight fighters looking to earn a much sought after contract in the UFC. 

Michael Chandler Vs Conor McGregor
Source: @mikechandlermma via Instagram

The fight was initially sparked when Chandler, after defeating former interim champ Tony Ferguson, goaded the seemingly retired former UFC champion to return to the competition and face him. 

“I got one dude on my mind… Conor McGregor, you gotta come back and fight somebody. I am the most entertaining lightweight on the planet. But I want to up the stakes, Conor. I want you at your biggest; I want you at your baddest; and I want you at your best. You and me at 170 [lbs] this summer; this fall; this winter. Coming at you boy.”

McGregor, who was M.I.A from the UFC for some time, agreed to the fight, leaving the MMA world feverishly anticipating his return to the Octagon.

The fight date is yet-to-be-announced, however it is believed that it will be going ahead in late 2023 closer to Christmas. Although, UFC President Dana White recently addressed the likelihood of the fight going ahead after UFC Vegas 74, stating:

“First of all, Conor called me a couple days ago and loved the first episode of ‘The Ultimate Fighter,’ and saying how happy he was to be a part of it. And I think being here and part of the environment and everything else, he felt it again and felt like he wants to get back to fight. The one thing you guys have to understand is this kid has so much money. It’s like Khabib now. These guys got sh*tloads of money and it’s hard to reel these guys in and get them to get in and fight.”

Why is Michael Chandler nicknamed ‘Iron Mike’?

How does one earn the moniker ‘Iron Mike’? Well, being the namesake of one of the greatest fighters of all-time certainly helps. Whilst heavy punches and a steely disposition form a part of the reason behind the nickname, Chandler’s ‘Iron Mike’ moniker is a homage to the one and only ‘Iron’ Mike Tyson.

Why is Michael Chandler nicknamed ‘Iron Mike’?
Source: bleacherreport.com

The name was birthed after Chandler’s win over Eddie Alvarez for the Bellator Lightweight Championship when Mike Tyson was in the vicinity for an autograph signing, and Chandler took his chance to speak to the boxing icon. The opportunity would prove fruitful as Tyson took a moment to leave the up-and-comer with some wise words.

“Tyson gave me some advice,” Chandler explained

“He just said, ‘Champ, it’s easy coming up. Then as soon as you get the belt and everyone’s gunning for you, every single person’s looking at you, they’re waking up, thinking about fighting you, they’re going to bed, thinking about fighting you.

You’ve got this big target on your back. That should motivate you. You’ve got to do things right. You’ve got to work hard.”

Michael Chandler Accused Of Using PEDs

Michael Chandler Accused Of Using PEDs
Source: @mikechandlermma via Instagram

Chandler has previously earned criticism from detractors accusing the fighter, currently ranked No. 5 in the lightweight division, of using performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) to aid him. Chandler, who previously spent a decade competing for Bellator MMA before signing as a free agent to the UFC, took the opportunity to squash the claims in an interview with ESPN’s Brett Okamato, where he said: 

“Here I am now taking a fight, October 24 possibly, which is 11 weeks removed from my previous fight [against Benson Henderson],”

“So it wasn’t like I’m coming into the UFC and saying, ‘hey guys, I need a year. Give me a year before I step into the cage.’ No, test me now. Test me ASAP. So I don’t need time. I’m excited about that. To lay that to rest, I’m excited to be a year clean, two years, three years, four years — you’re not going to hear me say anything about it.”

Michael Chandler The YouTuber

His YouTube channel, which has accumulated 36.6k subscribers, hosts a variety of reaction content, podcasts, highlight videos, and training montages showcasing his day-to-day training habits and thoughts on the world of MMA. Although his channel was created in 2008, he first began posting MMA material in October 2011 and has steadily built his brand to be one of the most recognisable names in MMA. To accompany his growing stardom off the back of The Ultimate Fighter documentary series detailing his coaching challenge against Conor McGregor, Chandler has begun reacting to and chatting through the series as it’s being released.

Michael Chandler, Movie Star

Michael Chandler is not a name you associate with movies. In reality, he’s often the subject of documentaries due to his status as a fighter alongside his personality and authenticity. However, Chandler was cast somewhat against type in the 2017 made-for-television horror film ‘Be Afraid’ where he played a tormentor to one of the film’s protagonists. Whilst he’s not given much to do (the subheading ‘Movie Star’ is admittedly an exaggeration), he did get a chance to exhibit his physical prowess and fighting ability by performing his own stunt work in a few scenes. Who knows what the future will hold for Chandler in the movie business, particularly with fellow UFC fighters Michael Bisping, Ronda Rousey, and Randy Couture leading the way by appearing in plenty of action movies over the past few decades.

Michael Chandler’s Life Outside The Octagon 

One look at Michael Chandler and one would struggle to pin down exactly the man he is when he’s not competing for the lightweight title. A self-admitted craft beer guy who craves IPAs and holds particular disdain for the everyday struggle of replacing those flimsy plastic bags in trash cans, Chandler presents as being honest and relatable when being interviewed or speaking via his YouTube channel (eponymously named Michael Chandler). For a man known for putting his opponents into chokeholds during the week, he’s not afraid of admitting to crying at 2004’s ‘The Notebook’.

“My wife will laugh at me, I’ve got tears pouring down my face watching TV or something,” he said. “If it’s an emotional chick-flick type of movie, chances are, I’m going to end up crying. I’m not afraid to admit that, because I think emotion is very healthy,” he said in an interview with The Baltimore Sun. 

“I’m definitely the epitome of a lover and a fighter.”

Michael Chandler’s Life Outside The Octagon
Source: @mikechandlermma via Instagram

Chandler’s discipline as a fighter is a large aspect of why he’s become so renowned in the MMA space.

“Because of my wrestling background, I’m extremely disciplined,” he said. “You hear about these guys cutting 20 pounds in one day or hear about these guys doing all this crazy stuff. All that really is is a lack of discipline and a lack of preparation.”

Enjoying craft beers in between training sessions is something that Chandler looks forward to, even though beer may appear to be the enemy for elite fighters counting calories and striving to maintain peak condition.

“If you look at my life, six months out of my life, I’m in training camp,” he said.

“Once I’m in training camp, there’s no beer, there’s no soda, there’s no bad food. There’s no anything. It’s eat, sleep and breathe training.

“But between training camps … I think I like craft beer because I’m not the kind of guy who’s going to go slug down 15 of them, either. I didn’t even drink in college.”

Relationship History

Relationship History
Source: @mikechandlermma via Instagram

Michael Chandler and his current wife, Brie Willett, started dating in 2013 after emailing back-and-forth for almost two years. Subsequently, they got married in 2014 and the two have been together ever since. Willett is a huge supporter of Chandler’s career, and despite the fact Chandler keeps details of his personal life private for the most part, the two will often show one another plenty of love and respect in their posts dedicated to one another. 

In an emotional video released by the UFC, Chandler was asked to read a letter written by Willet commending him for his bravery and integrity as both a father and a fighter. Chandler, who has never been one to shirk wearing his heart on his sleeve, was left in tears by the letter. The video is a testament to not only the deep connection between the two, but the support Chandler has around him in his pursuit of greatness. 

Currently, Chandler and his wife Brie spend their time juggling their careers, parenthood and running their gym in Nashville, Tennessee, which is also where they reside. 

Why Did Michael Chandler Adopt?

Chandler and his wife, Brie Willett, began to grow their family in 2017 when Chandler was still signed to Bellator. Chandler and Willett, who Chandler revealed had always wanted to adopt when the opportunity to have kids presented itself, adopted their first son Hap in 2017. They later welcomed their second son, Ace, in April 2022 through surrogacy. Willett has often praised Chandler for being a great role model for his children, with Chandler expressing in an interview with Brendan Schaub his undivided love for his two kids.

“I truly believe that I was put on this earth to be Hap’s dad, to be Ace’s dad.”

Michael Chandler, Mentality Monster

In the mentally and physically exhausting sport of mixed martial arts, Chandler has become known for his unshakeable self-belief and calm demeanour inside and outside of the Octagon. With his ‘See You At The Top’ catchphrase plastered across his social media and belted out after each post-fight speech, Chandler has commandeered his own flight to the top of the UFC through resilience, determination, and a ‘blue-collar work ethic’, which he attributes to his parents. 

Michael Chandler, Mentality Monster
Source: @mikechandlermma via Instagram

The retirement of Khabib Nurmagomedov, the dominant force in the lightweight division over the past few years, left some rather sizable shoes to fill. Chandler, however, has shown he is up to the task of taking over the throne left by the Russian, and this unflinching self-assurance has made many fans gravitate towards him as he gears up for his title shot.

In addition to fighting, Chandler is a coach and owner of his own personal training business called WalkOn Fitness, which aims to help facilitate emotional, spiritual and physical growth in his trainees and to transform them into their best selves physically and mentally. 

Michael Chandler Net Worth

As one of the highest-ranked MMA fighters in the lightweight division, Michael Chandler’s net worth is estimated to be $6 million. With major brands such as American Ethanol, Monster Energy, Sanford Health, and Arsenal Strength partnering with the fighter throughout his career, Chandler has accrued a significant wealth through his endorsements.

Michael Chandler Net Worth
Source: @mikechandlermma via Instagram

In addition, Chandler earns his money through working at his Nashville gym, training people via his WalkOn Fitness business, and of course, with the UFC, where he recently renewed his contract for eight more bouts in the Octagon. Chandler majored in personal finance management services with a minor in real estate at the University of Missouri, meaning he’d definitely have a knack for expanding his wealth.