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How Michael Chandler became a two-time MMA champion

From his upbringing in High Ridge, Mo, through his time at Northwest High School and walking onto the wrestling team at the University of Missouri, this is the story of Michael Chandler’s remarkable journey toward MMA stardom.

Michael Chandler knew from a young age that he was destined to become a professional fighter, and when he made that decision, there would be no stopping him. Having inherited a relentless work ethic from his parents, Chandler was skilled beyond his years at wrestling. As a freshman, his first-ever match was on varsity, which he won. This early success boosted his confidence and drive to maximize his potential. His training consumed his life, and he didn't even let a broken hand prevent him from his weightlifting.

After a heartbreaking loss in the state finals to cap his high school career, Chandler was worried that his dream to wrestle for the University of Missouri would be crushed. Though not offered a scholarship, he enrolled at the school and managed to walk on to the wrestling team. From there, he flourished under his coach and mentor, Brian Smith. Chandler's leadership, excellence, and dedication to his craft changed the culture of Smith's wrestling program and his mindset toward recruiting.

After his time ended at Mizzou, he was inspired by the career paths taken by Ben Askren and Tyron Woodley, two of Chandler's former collegiate teammates who began fighting upon graduating. It didn't take long for Chandler to make his mark in the field and become an MMA champion, defeating Eddie Alvarez in just his eighth career fight. He'd later add another Lightweight title -- and with a committed focus, determination, and strong support system in place, his future as a fighter shines bright.