The UFC is scrambling to find Tony Ferguson an opponent that could open the door to a massive fight against a former Bellator champion.
The former interim lightweight champions was scheduled to face Dustin Poirier at UFC 254, but that bout fell apart due to a pay dispute with ‘Diamond’.
UFC President Dana White has said that Ferguson will remain on the card, which is headlined by a lightweight title unification clash, but has thus far been tight-lipped on his opponent.
Reports have now emerged that the UFC has entered advanced negotiations with Michael Chandler, who could step up for a blockbuster debut against Ferguson.
The former three-time Bellator Lightweight Champion left the promotion after almost a decade by fighting out his contract in early August.
ESPN reports that the 34-year-old is locked in talks to sign for the UFC which could make him the frontrunner for the Ferguson.
White has previously confirmed that the promotion has held talks with the hottest free agent in MMA, and Chandler has won his last two fights by first-round knockout.
Ferguson still wants to fight Poirier, but it is not yet known if he would be keen to welcome Chandler to the UFC.
UFC 254 is due to take place on Fight Island in Abu Dhabi, with Khabib Nurmagomedov headlining the card to defend his lightweight strap against Justin Gaethje.
Ultimate Fighting Championship
World news – US – Former Bellator champion linked with blockbuster UFC debut against Tony Ferguson