Michael Chandler is going to have to work his way back to a title shot.

The Lightweight division in Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is currently in the midst of getting the top contenders all sorted out after a new champion was crowned at UFC 280 this past weekend (Oct. 22, 2022). Now reigning supreme, Islam Makhachev will sit back and enjoy the upcoming UFC 281 event on Nov. 12, 2022.

Fighting that night will be the aforementioned Chandler who is set to take on a fellow former title challenger, Dustin Poirier. Both men aim to re-establish themselves as next in line for title opportunities, but unfortunately for them, the new champ believes either winner will still need additional wins.

“I don’t think either of them will get an immediate title shot,” Makhachev said during a media scrum in Dagestan (h/t Red Corner MMA). “How many times did Poirier fight for the belt? Chandler has just fought four times in the organization and lost two of them. So, I don’t think Chandler deserves a title shot even if he wins.”

Immediately following Makhachev’s dominant second-round submission over Charles Oliveira at UFC 280 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (watch highlights), he appeared to have his first title challenger lined up.

UFC Featherweight champion, Alexander Volkanovski, was in attendance for the event, serving as the backup to the Lightweight title tilt. “The Great” entered the Octagon, confronting Makhachev after his win as the two agreed to fight each other for their next time out.

While another top Lightweight contender, Beneil Dariush, also fought that night, scoring a fun unanimous decision win over Mateusz Gamrot, Makhachev feels the champion versus champion tilt is the direction he’s headed.

“For me personally and for MMA fans as well, Volkanovski looks more interesting as a challenge,” Makhachev said. “Because there will be two belts on the line. It’s always big when two champions face each other, I think it’s always exciting for the fans. But I’m not downplaying Dariush’s accomplishments. He is on a great winning streak, he has beaten some solid opposition. He deserves the title shot, too, but I’ve never picked opponents. I will fight whoever the UFC gives me.”