Michael Chandler isn’t necessarily celebrating his highlight-reel front kick KO of Tony Ferguson at UFC 274, revealing in a recent interview with Ariel Helwani that he feels bad about turning ‘El Cucuy’ into an internet meme.
“I feel more bad for him than I do feel proud of myself, to be honest with you,” Chandler said on The MMA Hour (h/t Jon Fuentes of MMA News). “It’s one of those pictures where it’s just like, gosh, dang, man. That could be any of us. Mixed martial arts is such a ruthless, tough game, man.
“And we’ve all been on the wrong side of those exchanges. We’ve all been on the right side of those exchanges. It’s just is your card gonna be called? Is your number gonna be called tonight? Is it my number or your number that’s getting called tonight?”
“And luckily for me, it was his number that got called. Unfortunately for him but lucky for me, those pictures will live on the internet forever, and he has become a meme and that kind of stuff.”
The photo in question shows just how severe the impact of Chandler’s front kick was, with Ferguson’s face looking badly deformed and virtually unrecognizable at the moment of impact.
While some fans have used the photo to troll Ferguson online, Chandler says the knockout should serve as a reminder of just how brave MMA fighters are for stepping into the Octagon in the first place.
“If anything it should make people love the sport more that we’re braving the unknown and braving the embarrassment every single time we put those gloves on. Because the internet is ruthless, it’s undefeated, and the trolls are everywhere.”
Chandler’s win saw the former three-time Bellator lightweight champion and one-time UFC title challenger maintain his #5 spot in the UFC lightweight rankings and re-enter title contention.