Don’t call it a legend tour.
Michael Chiesa is set to fight longtime veteran of the sport, Diego Sanchez at UFC 239. And, after beating another veteran in Carlos Condit last time out, many are saying he is fighting legends of the sport. But, the 31-year-old makes it very clear, Sanchez is not a washed-up legend like fans are making him out to be.
Instead, Chiesa is expecting a very tough fight.
“I can’t say this enough, winning one fight in the UFC is pretty hard. If you win two fights in a row you are f*****g good,” Chiesa said to BJPENN.com. “No questions about it. It doesn’t matter who it is against, if you win two fights in a row you are legit. They took Diego too lightly, you aren’t going to see me do that.”
Although this is a tough fight, this is the kind of fight Michael Chiesa wanted. If he wasn’t going to fight a ranked fighter, he wanted big-name opponents to make himself a name in the welterweight division.
“Well, one thing is for sure, it’s very similar to the Carlos fight, in the sense that I have respect for Diego. I’m a fan of his as a fighter,” Chiesa said. “It is an honor to fight these type of guys, but I don’t look at Diego as an over the hill legend. He is on a winning streak and has shown he has relevance in the division. I treat him like everyone else. It feels good to fight these type of guys. To get where you want to go, you need to beat the big name guys as they did.”
Michael Chiesa: ‘Anybody can be submitted on any given night’
Even though these are the fights Chiesa wanted, he knows it is not a guaranteed win. He believes beating Diego Sanchez will be harder said than done. The 37-year-old has never been submitted before in his career, but Chiesa is confident in his skills to be able to hand the former lightweight title challenger his first submission loss.
“Anybody can be submitted on any given night. I’ve submitted guys that have never been submitted like Beneil Dariush,” he explained. “Without giving away too much, I know I can get a submission against anyone in the world including Diego. I have a few things and tendencies that when the opportunity presents itself I’ll submit him. You will be surprised what I have up my sleeve for this fight.”
In the end, Michael Chiesa is more than confident he will leave Las Vegas with a win and improve to 2-0 at welterweight. He says his career is rejuvenated at welterweight not having to cut 15 extra pounds and it will show once again in this fight. If he does beat Sanchez, The Ultimate Fighter Live winner expects to be fighting a ranked opponent next.
“One thing Diego and I have in common is we are fighters. We aren’t trying to point-fight so the fans are in for a really exciting fight, I feel like there is a blueprint to beat Diego,” Chiesa concluded. “I’ll fight Diego’s fight because that is my fight, too. Just put on a good fight for the fans. He is getting inducted into the Hall of Fame that weekend, but I’m going to spoil it.”
Who do you think will win the fight between Michael Chiesa and Diego Sanchez?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 7/1/2019.