Michael Chandler recently stated that Tyron Woodley and Ben Askren played a crucial role in his professional development. The upperclassmen helped ‘Iron’ realize his full potential and become a world-class athlete. Chandler developed a close relationship with the former champions during his collegiate wrestling days at the University of Missouri.
While speaking to the UFC broadcast team during the UFC 262: Live Weigh-in Show, Michael Chandler revealed that Tyron Woodley was the first among the three to transition to MMA. He then helped Chandler and Askren to take their first steps into the sport and even got Michael Chandler his first few MMA fights.
“Tyron Woodley first spearheaded me, Ben and Tyron getting into mixed martial arts. Tyron started going down to ATT (American Top Team), training with you and Yves Edwards and those guys down there,” Michael Chandler.
“So he kinda laid the foundation, he got me my first three fights. So I kinda owe a lot of my success, my beginnings to those two guys. And also, those guys made me believe in myself when I didn’t,” added Michael Chandler.
Michael Chandler added that Tyron Woodley and Ben Askren were the only two people in the University of Missouri wrestling team that believed in his potential. The two took it upon themselves to help Chandler improve and grow as a professional athlete.
Michael Chandler has outlasted his mentors in the sport of MMA
A veteran of 27 professional MMA fights, Michael Chandler (22-5 MMA, 1-0 UFC) held the Bellator lightweight title on two separate occasions. Chandler announced himself to UFC fans with a first-round knockout win over Dan Hooker at UFC 257.
He will now fight No. 3-ranked Charles Oliveira (30-8-1NC MMA, 17-8-1NC UFC) for the vacant lightweight title at UFC 262 on Saturday.
Tyron Woodley (19-7-1D MMA, 10-6-1D UFC) and Ben Askren (19-2-NC MMA, 1-2 UFC) achieved the highest levels of success in their heyday. However, their best days in the sport are far behind them.
Woodley became one of the most dominant welterweight champions in UFC history and defended the title four consecutive times before losing it to current champion Kamaru Usman. He was released from the UFC after a first-round submission loss to Vicente Luque at UFC 260.
Askren held the 170-lbs title in Bellator and ONE FC and amassed an 18-0 record. However, striking inadequacies severely hurt Askren’s chances in his short UFC run later in the career.
The former Bellator champion announced retirement after suffering back-to-back losses to Jorge Masvidal and Demian Maia in the UFC. He last competed in a celebrity boxing match against YouTuber-turned-professional boxer Jake Paul in April and lost the fight via a first-round knockout.