Last Friday, at the UFC 226 weigh ins, long-time lightweight contender Michael Chiesa missed weight for his fight with Anthony Pettis, tipping the scales at 157.5, 1.5 pounds above the 156-pound limit for non-title lightweight fights. Moments after he stepped off the scale, Chiesa assured he was done at lightweight, evidently fed-up with the weight cut.
Speaking on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show on ESPN this week, Michael Chiesa opened up on just how harrowing his UFC 226 weight cut was. Apparently, he worried he was going to kill himself.
“I can’t emphasize this enough, Ariel: I seriously thought I was going to die,” Chiesa said. “Going through the first part of my weight cut, on Thursday, I really thought I was going to kill myself and I’m not exaggerating in the slightest.”
Chiesa, who’s camp was briefly joggled by a foot injury, discussed the juncture at which he knew he could not cut any more weight.
“Ultimately my body had nothing to give,” he said. “When you can’t do road work for a week-and-a-half, that’s really hard on your weight cut. I came into fight week at 175 pounds, and usually I come into fight week at 169, 168 pounds. It was just too much for my body to handle.
“We cut weight for eight hours. We cut for four hours on Thursday night and I was up at 5 a.m. cutting weight on the day of weigh-ins [Friday] and my body had nothing more to give. I’m not exaggerating: I thought I was going to die. In the middle of the night before the Friday weigh-ins, I woke up and started having a panic attack. I broke down and started crying and was like, ‘I think I’m going to die.’
“I’ve never felt like this. I made 155 my whole career without a hitch and it never feels good, but it’s never like this, never in my life.”
Needless to say, Michael Chiesa feels the move to welterweight is the right one. In fact, he thinks he can thrive in the division, as there’s really only one welterweight that’s bigger than him.
“I was already in talks with people around me. Win or lose, after this fight, I think I want to go up,” he said. “A lot of people are trying to steer me to 170 pounds. I’m a big guy; people don’t realize that. There’s only one guy at 170 that’s bigger than me, and that’s Darren Till. I’m not a small guy. I can get up to 205 pounds and be athletic and be in shape.
“If [the 165-pound weight class] happens, it happens. If it does, I welcome it with open arms. I’m a big advocate for it. If they add 165 pounds, it would be heaven sent. It would be a blessing to a lot of us guys.”
How do you think Michael Chiesa will perform at welterweight?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 7/12/2018.