Michael Chandler on recent Ian Machado Garry drama: ‘He’s very much a me kind of fighter’

Michael Chandler finds himself in an awkward position when it comes to UFC 296’s matchup between Ian Machado Garry and Vicente Luque.

First, there’s the obvious — Chandler has spent ample time training with both men down at Florida’s Kill Cliff FC gym. Luque is a longtime stalwart of the team and Machado Garry has trained there in the past. But then there’s the less auspicious part of the equation, and that’s the recent drama surrounding Machado Garry and the rash of enemies the Irishman seems to be making within the UFC roster. Just within the past few weeks, UFC middleweight champion Sean Strickland, contenders Brendan Allen and Sean Brady, and the team of welterweight champion Leon Edwards have all took aim at Garry for various reasons.

Much of the drama appears to revolve around Machado Garry’s conduct in the gym. Chander was asked for his perspective on Monday’s episode of The MMA Hour.

“Mine and Ian’s relationship is funny just because he is — I’ve got to be honest with you, I think he’s a little bit like what I wish I could be mentality-wise when it comes to my fight camp,” Chandler said on The MMA Hour. “When I go into my fight camps, don’t talk to me, don’t look at me sideways, don’t speak to me unless spoken to. I kind of turn into that guy, where I take it so seriously. And the way that he is, he’s so happy-go-lucky. He doesn’t care about anything whatsoever, right?

“So a differing in kind of mentalities when it comes to [stuff] like that. That doesn’t mean his is right, mine is wrong, or vice versa. But then when it comes to that, I know — obviously I was just down in Florida last week, I was training with Vincente [Luque], Shavkat [Rakhmonov], those guys are obviously fighting in a couple of weeks in Vegas. I’ll be out there. Ian chose not to do his camp this camp in Florida with us, so it’s interesting.

“But as far as Ian goes, man, he’s got a ton of talent. He’s got that Irish mystique to him, the way that he speaks and his accent, all that kind of stuff. He’s got the talent to boot, he’s got the confidence. If he keeps his head on his shoulders, he could be champion one day, for sure, but he’s got a tough test ahead of him in Vicente. And both of those guys I would consider teammates pretty much right now, probably Vicente even more because I’ve trained with Vicente for years and years and Ian has now kind of bounced around a little bit.

“So we’ll see how it works out for him. He’s very much a me kind of fighter, whereas I’ve always been a we kind of fighter, focus on the team more than myself, and he’s more of a, ‘Hey, I know exactly what to do, I’m the guy who steps inside the cage,’ kind of guy. So we’ll see, we’ll see how it plays out for him. But I don’t think he’s a bad dude.”

Machado Garry, 26, is one of the top up-and-comers in the UFC welterweight division. He’s an undefeated 13-0 in his pro MMA career and has won all six of his octagon appearances. Machado Garry soundly defeated Neil Magny this past August to vault his name into the contender mix at 170 pounds.

He’s found himself in plenty of non-fight related headlines since, though. Chief among them came from Allen and Brady, the former of whom accused Machado Garry of “selling your soul to the devil for money” over Machado Garry’s conduct since leaving Kill Cliff FC, and the latter of whom backed Allen’s comments and said of Machado Garry, “The real ones don’t like that s***.” Machado Garry’s outlook to his training also led to him getting booted from Team Renegade, the Birmingham-based gym that Edwards calls home, because of what Machado Garry referred to as the UFC welterweight king’s “insecurities.”

For Chandler, the topic of gym etiquette is a tough one.

“I mean, he doesn’t show up on time all the time and he doesn’t show up at every practice, which really ticked me off,” Chandler said. “But that ticks me off about anybody else. There’s only a few people that I would actually say have perfect gym etiquette when it comes to that, Gilbert Burns being one of them. Shout out to Gilbert Burns, one of my favorite fighters. But as far as etiquette goes, I mean, I don’t really even know what gym etiquette he’s out there supposedly breaking, but to me he was always a pretty cool dude.

“I never had any problems with him, aside from the fact that it could be anybody. It could be the sweetest person in the world and I’m still like, ‘Hey, get away from me, dude. I need a second, I’m in training camp right now.’ I’m kind of a psychopath, so you can’t judge my judge of character during training camp too well.”

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