Michael Chiesa opens up on booking UFC Abu Dhabi fight against Tony Ferguson: “He was once the boogeyman”

By Josh Evanoff - June 5, 2024

UFC welterweight contender Michael Chiesa is happy to finally face Tony Ferguson.

Tony Ferguson, Michael Chiesa

‘Maverick’ hasn’t competed since a first-round submission loss to Kevin Holland at UFC 291 last July. That defeat was Michael Chiesa’s third in a row, previously suffering defeats to Vicente Luque and Sean Brady. Following the loss to ‘Trailblazer’, many felt that the 36-year-old could retire from fighting.

Instead, Michael Chiesa wound up taking a yearlong hiatus from competition. Earlier this week, however, it was announced that the welterweight would be returning to the cage opposite Tony Ferguson in Abu Dhabi. The two will be one of the main attractions at the August event, which also features the likes of Cory Sandhagen vs. Umar Nurmagomedov and Nick Diaz vs. Vicente Luque.

Many online have questioned the decision to give Tony Ferguson another fight in the UFC. Heading into his fight with Michael Chiesa, ‘El Cucuy’ is riding a seven-fight winning streak. Furthermore, Ferguson hasn’t won a bout since a 2019 stoppage victory over Donald Cerrone. Since then, he’s been handed several lopsided losses.

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Michael Chiesa

Image Credit: @ufc on Twitter

Michael Chiesa opens up on UFC Abu Dhabi fight against Tony Ferguson

However, Michael Chiesa couldn’t be more excited to finally face the former interim champion. Speaking on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani earlier today, ‘Maverick’ was asked about the fight booking. There, Chiesa stated that the chance to finally face Tony Ferguson, years after their first booking, is something he’s very grateful for.

“My manager called me and was like ‘You’re never going to believe who they’re calling me about’. I said ‘Wonderboy’ first.” Michael Chiesa stated during the interview. “…We talked for a while and he said it’s not him… He told me Tony Ferguson, and I didn’t see that coming. I thought, if I still had a ranking, I thought it would be a Randy Brown or a Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos, these guys kind of jockeying to get into the top 15.”

He continued, “But the reality is I don’t have that number next to my name, so the possibilities are endless. I didn’t expect it to be Tony Ferguson… We’re both not at the highest point of our careers obviously. But it’s a fight that, it’s the one that got away from me. So I’m excited to fight him and lay to rest those personal demons I had eight years and go out there and lock horns with a guy that I had a lot of respect for. He was at one point the boogeyman of my weight class.”

What do you make of these comments from the UFC welterweight? Do you believe Michael Chiesa will defeat Tony Ferguson later this year in Abu Dhabi?