Since capturing the Bellator lightweight title on Nov. 19 from Eddie Alvarez with a fourth-round submission, Michael Chandler has refused to rest on his laurels.
Chandler is determined not to be a one-and-done champion so he has upped the ante in training camp. He's worked extra hard to improve every aspect of his game, especially his striking.
The extra work paid off Friday night as Chandler stepped into the cage for the first time since becoming a champion to face veteran Akihiro Gono.
Though his title wasn't on the line, the younger, stronger, faster and more determined Chandler wasted little time quashing any hopes Gono might have had of pulling off an upset.
Chandler landed a hard right hand that dropped Gono less than a minute into the Bellator 67 main event in Rama, Ontario.
He would follow the punch with another right hand, that forced Gono to cover up. With Gono making no attempt to mount an attack, Chandler began delivering right and left hands, many of which found the mark.
That was enough for referee Yves Lavigne, who jumped and waved the fight off at the 56-second mark.
Despite the impressive win, Chandler (10-0) preferred to downplay his effort. He has set his goals high, and knows there is much more to do before they can be achieved.
“I have a lot of work to do,” Chandler said. “By no means am I complacent. I promise you I am going to be the best lightweight in the world, and I’m working toward that.
“I’m blessed with great sparring partners and trainers. It’s going to be tough to take this [title] away from me.”
Gono, 37, has now lost three fights in a row. His professional record stands at 32-18-7.