Michael Chiesa was riding a nice little three-fight win streak until he ran into Kevin Lee, but now he’s back on the journey to restore his standing in the division and get back in that win column. He’ll be fighting former UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis at the stacked UFC 223 card. Not only is he eager to get back in the cage, but he’s also relieved that Conor McGregor will be stripped to leave room for other fighters like himself to eventually get a title shot.
“The biggest thing we need, is we need movement. The 155-pound division has been log-jammed so many times. When Anthony was champion he had some injuries that held him out for a while, you know, so the division got jammed up. And then we had some movement, and then Conor [McGregor] won the title and we’re jammed up again, and you know, you just gotta keep the wheels in motion. It’s just good to see. Conor’s a two-time champion, but he can’t just sit and hold the belt and keep us all waiting. You know, there’s a lot of tough guys jockeying for their position to be number one, and you only have so much time in this sport, so you can’t let one guy rob a bunch of us of our opportunities to fight for the belt.”
Next time we’ll all be together, we’ll be in Brooklyn to get in a damn fist fight. I can’t thank these guys enough for always having my back. #ufc223 #visionquest #teamchiesa pic.twitter.com/j1gEC9hYcQ
— Michael Chiesa (@MikeMav22) March 8, 2018
“You gotta expect that [McGregor]’s going to fight the winner of [Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson]. You know what I mean? So, the way I look at it is, by the time I get to fight for the title, I think McGregor will kind of be out of the equation. I still gotta get through Anthony Pettis, I still probably got two more fights before I’m number one contender, and I think in that time span he would have moved on. I think he’ll come back, fight Khabib or Ferguson, probably Nate and then he’ll be on with himself, and I think by then it would be perfect timing for me to jump in and be champion. So, I’m not all too worried about that, I’m just focused on myself, I’m focused on the task at hand. I can’t stress too much about the future and what’s going on with Conor.” — Michael Chiesa speaking to Submission Radio.
It’s definitely true that Conor McGregor has been holding on to that lightweight title, but he can’t be blamed for the sole reason of their not being movement. Since before UFC 205, there has been no change in the top of the lightweight division other than Michael Johnson moving to featherweight. Tony Ferguson is still number one, followed by Khabib Nurmagomedov and Eddie Alvarez respectively. With Nate Diaz sitting ranked at eighth, but with the ability to get a title shot at McGregor anytime he wants. Michael Chiesa will fight Anthony Pettis at UFC 223, which is ironically the fourth time the UFC has tried to book the main event between Nurmagomedov and Ferguson, which also stalled movement in the division.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 3/8/2018.