(photo by Paul Benjamin)

When Bellator Fighting Championships was looking for an opponent for new lightweight champion Michael Chandler, the list was long.

Soon enough, however, it got whittled down to one because no one was jumping at the chance to face Chandler after his “Fight of the Year” performance over former champ Eddie Alvarez.

The one name that accepted the fight, without hesitation: former UFC and Pride fighter Akihiro Gono.

A mainstay of the Japanese fight scene for more than 15 years, Gono is a veteran fighter who has faced some of the stiffest competition anyone could throw at him and when Michael Chandler’s name was attached to his next bout, there really wasn’t much thought into what to say.

Gono just said yes.

“I have never rejected any fight offer,” Gono told MMAWeekly.com. “Now, I understand why a veteran, perhaps an old man like myself, was chosen to fight Chandler.”

Gono’s manager, Shu Hirata from Suckerpunch Entertainment, said the fight was a no-brainer for the 37-year-old veteran of nearly 50 professional fights. The opportunity was great, and with no risk comes no reward.

“We’ve been looking for an opportunities outside Japan for maybe about a year or so. There were a few possibilities, but none of them were quite right for him at the moment. Then the offer from Bellator actually came in the day before his last fight (vs. Daisuke Nakamura). So I spoke to him the day after that fight and he basically said, ‘I have no injury whatsoever, healthy as ever, so I would like to fight.’ Really, it took less than two minutes to accept the offer to fight Michael Chandler,” Hirata told MMAWeekly.com.

“Gono is one of the smartest individuals I ever met and he has an ability to look at the entire situation in an objective manner. So he knows his place in the business, where he is at in terms of his career. And that means he knows this is more than just an opportunity. It maybe the chance of a lifetime. He can turn everything around with one punch, so to speak. So I am sure he would do whatever it takes to create, perhaps, one of the biggest upsets in the history of MMA on this Friday night.”

Despite his relative youth when it comes to experience level, Chandler has looked like an unstoppable force throughout his career thus far. Already a high level wrestler, Chandler has added heavy hands and a dangerous submission game to his arsenal.

There just aren’t a lot of weaknesses in Chandler’s game. If you know of any, however, Gono will be happy to take your call.

“If there is any weakness of Michael Chandler, then will you please teach me about that?” Gono joked.

Gono is realistic about the situation he’s heading into and he knows that the world is probably picking against him to win. Still, everybody loves a good underdog story and what better way for Gono to re-emerge on the MMA scene than to hand Michael Chandler his first loss.

“An old man, at 37 years old, will cause a huge upset,” said Gono. “I am going to fight hard to create that kind of result.”

Follow @DamonMartin on Twitter or e-mail Damon Martin.
For more
UFC News and UFC Rumors, follow MMAWeekly.com on Twitter and Facebook.

view original article >>
Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

'Still upset' Vitor Belfort apologizes to fans for UFC 187 loss, promises return to 'full strength' soon

  • a day ago
  • 4 views

Mixed martial arts (MMA) fans haven't seen the last of Vitor Belfort in the Octagon even though the 38-year-old veteran suffered a significant setback in UFC 187's co-main event this past weekend. "T read news >>

Michael Chandler wants to put on a show for fans 'in an octagon or in a circle cage'

  • 2 days ago
  • 2 views

Michael Chandler is at a rough point in his career, but that isn’t keeping him from thinking about major decisions that may come in the future.Filed under: Bellator, Featured Videos, News, Radio High read news >>

With 'a few more years left,' UFC 187 upset winner Andrei Arlovski wants to be champ

  • 4 days ago
  • 7 views

LAS VEGAS – Former heavyweight champ Andrei Arlovski came into Saturday’s UFC 187 bout with Travis Browne with a lot of weight on his shoulders. Filed under: Featured Videos, MMA Rumors, News, UFC read news >>

UFC 187 fight card: What's at stake?

  • 5 days ago
  • 1 views

If there are UFC customers upset or otherwise dismayed at the absence of Jon Jones or Khabib Nurmagomedov from this card, they are well within their rights to do so. And if there's anything fans are read news >>

When Chris Weidman was Injured a Second Time, UFC Considered an Interim Title

  • 10 days ago
  • 0 views

When middleweight champ Chris Weidman had to pull out of his scheduled fight against Vitor Belfort a second time, the UFC considered creating an interim title. read news >>

Scott Coker: Bellator's 'Phone's Been Ringing' with Upset UFC Fighters

  • 16 days ago
  • 33 views

The unveiling of the UFC’s new sponsorship program with Reebok already has some fighters flirting with Bellator, according to Scott Coker. In an interview with MMAFighting.com's Luke Thomas, the Bell read news >>

Mayweather insists Nevada Commish pull down Manny's shorts and inspect his cup

  • 28 days ago
  • 130 views

Can't be too careful when you're the champ. Floyd Mayweather is leaving no stone unturned in his quest to beat Manny Pacquiao this Saturday in Las Vegas. His latest gambit? Insisting that Nevada Athl read news >>

Stream or download MMAjunkie Radio #1950 with Demetrious Johnson, Al Bernstein, Michael Chandler, Jon Jones

  • 28 days ago
  • 0 views

Stream or download Wednesday’s edition of MMAjunkie Radio with guests Demetrious Johnson, Al Bernstein, Michael Chandler and Jon Jones.Filed under: Bellator, News, Radio, UFC read news >>

MMAjunkie Radio (noon ET): Jon Jones (not that one), Al Bernstein, Chandler, Tavares, Eye

  • 29 days ago
  • 0 views

MMAjunkie Radio kicks off at noon ET with guests Jon Jones (not that one), Al Bernstein, Michael Chandler, Brad Tavares and Jessica Eye.Filed under: Bellator, News, UFC read news >>