Surging UFC welterweight contender Michael Chiesa is still hoping to fight Colby Covington next, but he’d also be up for a fight with Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson.
Chiesa last fought at UFC Fight Island 8 in January, when he picked up an impressive decision victory over Neil Magny. After that fight, he set his sights on Colby Covington, a dedicated Donald Trump supporter, with a politicized callout.
“The election is over,” Chiesa said post-fight. “Colby Covington, your schtick is done. I want you next, boy.”
Speaking to MMA Fighting, Michael Chiesa followed up on his callout of Covington, explaining why he called him out the way he did.
“I don’t know, I think it just jumped in my head,” Chiesa said. “My manager had said something to me like, ‘Who are you gonna call out after the fight? I think you should call for Colby with the election being done.’ This was at the very beginning when I got to Fight Island and I was like, ‘No, man. I’m not even thinking about that.’ I put zero thought into it because I wanted to be focused on Neil because he’s a guy that you can’t give any space. If I have one mental lapse with him that could snowball into something really big. So I maintained my focus on him.
“Maybe it was [Daniel Cormier] because last time I had the mic with him I did it,” Chiesa continued. “I don’t know, it just felt right. And I know that’s a tough fight for me. I see what people say, and I know what the reality is. There’s a good chance that guy could beat me, but how am I going to try and become a world champion if I’m not fighting the best guys? Every underdog has to be an underdog. I’m not gonna be a favorite in all my fights. I wasn’t even a favorite in this fight. Everyone’s supposed to beat me. I feel like every time I fight I’m an underdog. Whatever, I’d rather fight the best guys and lay it on the line to get to my goals. I aimed big for that one. I thought it was pretty good; short, sweet, very concise.
“So we’ll see what happens. If he gets the [Jorge] Masvidal fight, that’s fine and dandy. Like I said, I’m not fighting until July, big fights happening in this division and we’ll see how they shake out.”
While Chiesa and Covington’s station in the welterweight top-10 alone makes this potential fight plenty alluring, Chiesa noted that there’s also an interesting storyline attached to the matchup.
“There’s a little storyline in a sense that he wrestled at Oregon State and one of his coaches was Kevin Roberts,” Chiesa said. “When I wrestled in high school—I never went to college for wrestling, I wasn’t even that good in high school—my head coach was Dusty Roberts, Kevin’s brother. So there’s kind of this Northwest connection in a sense that would get the wrestling community between Washington and Oregon very invested, and I’m all about the wrestling community. I think it would make some waves.
“Let’s find out who the toughest welterweight in the Pacific Northwest is,” Chiesa added.
Despite his interest in fighting Covington, Chiesa isn’t too hung up on the matchup. If Covington fights somebody else, like Masvidal, Chiesa would be willing to lock horns with Thompson, a man he respects.
“He’s such a good guy, and he’s a hell of a fighter,” Chiesa said of Thompson. “That would be a fun fight for sure. If the Colby fight falls through then may the nicest mother f’er win.”
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