Michael Chandler is ready to take on Tony Ferguson, but the former Bellator champion has a different - and bigger - stage in mind for their lightweight clash.
"There is a 0% chance I'll fight Tony Ferguson in December," Chandler told ESPN's Brett Okamoto on Tuesday. "And I 100% know he knew that, because the UFC already told him that, and I've already said I'll see him in January.
"Now that we have Conor (McGregor) fighting Dustin (Poirier) - it looks like that fight will get booked on Jan. 23 - they need a co-main event. Why wouldn't it be Chandler versus Ferguson?"
Ferguson posted a video on social media Saturday calling to fight Chandler on Dec. 12 at UFC 256, which recently lost its main event after double champion Amanda Nunes withdrew from her bout against Megan Anderson.
But Chandler, who weighed in as the alternate for the lightweight title fight at UFC 254, said he needs more time before making his Octagon debut.
"The UFC didn't offer me the fight in December, because they know I'm on a timeline now," Chandler said. "I just made weight in October. Everybody knows I'm an active fighter and I'm constantly training, but I needed just four weeks off. Essentially, Tony is campaigning for us to fight in three-and-a-half weeks."
Ferguson, a former interim lightweight titleholder, is looking to rebound after having his 12-fight win streak snapped by Justin Gaethje in May.
Meanwhile, Chandler has won nine of his last 11 fights, all under the Bellator banner.