Michael Chiesa is eager to finally step back into the Octagon.
In the main event of UFC Fight Island 8, Chiesa is set to battle Neil Magny in his first fight in nearly a year. Since Chiesa beat Rafael dos Anjos last January, he had a ton of momentum but injuries and the pandemic kept him out of the Octagon.
Now, in his return, he got the main event spot against a top-10 opponent in Magny which he’s happy about.
“Neil and I were calling each other out, we eyed each other for some time now. I was really gunning for a guy in the top-five,” Chiesa said on Just Scrap Radio on BJPENN.com. “When I beat RDA he was ranked five and I’ve been in the company for a long time. I was a top-ranked lightweight for a long time, but this the fight that makes sense. The landscape of the division when they booked the fight, this was the closest guy I was looking for. I was prone to taking it because this is just a guy we have been eyeing for a while. It will be a super exciting matchup, very excited about the fight, he is a great guy and we will have a good fight.”
Entering the fight, Chiesa knows he will have to close the distance and use his grappling to have success. The Spokane native hasn’t looked at any of Magny’s past losses as he knows that would give him a false sense of security.
However, the eighth-ranked welterweight is expecting a tough fight but knows he has what it takes to get his hand raised.
“It is tough to predict how this fight goes. Most people think it will go the distance or something of that sort,” Chiesa explained. “I think Neil wants to have an impressive win over me as I do to him. I’m always looking to having the shortest night at the office as possible. I know how to take calculated risks to make that happen. I won’t go out there and fight him blindly to try and get him out of there. I think it will be a tough fight for both of us.”
Not only is this a big fight for Chiesa to prove he is a legit welterweight contender, but he’s vieweing this as a shot at redemption. It will be his second ever main event, with his first being a loss to Kevin Lee, so Chiesa hopes to right those wrongs.
“I wanted to run it back in the main event spot. I would rather win or lose fair and square. God forbid Neil beats me or finishes me, as long as there is no intervention by the official that is unjust,” Chiesa said. “Definitely excited for my opportunity to compete in the main event again and just try to erase that. I don’t dwell on it too much. Once they booked the fight I was like this is my chance at redemption. Not gonna let that happen again.”
If Michael Chiesa gets his hand raised on Wednesday, he knows the callout will be big as if he calls the right person out, it will lead to a big fight for him.
“The main event is the most important thing. All eyes are on you and when you get the win, the most important time in a fight is when you get the microphone when you win,” Chiesa concluded. “When you get that opportunity after the main event you can call for a big fight and a lot of times you can get it. It is really important I win in this main event. Maybe people have forgotten about me and I know I am still here.”
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