In 2017, grappling specialists Michael Chiesa and Kevin Lee met in a lightweight grudge match. Unfortunately, this match ended in controversy, as Lee locked up a rear-naked choke, and referee Mario Yamasaki stopped the action before Chiesa had actually tapped.
Today, when Michael Chiesa and Kevin Lee are both competing in the welterweight division, Chiesa is still holding out hope for a rematch.
He says he recently crossed paths with Lee at the UFC Performance Institute in Las Vegas, where he broached the idea of a do-over.
“We seen each other face to face. I saw him at the PI in the locker room before he fought Barboza. And this was before I fought Pettis at 223,” Chiesa said on MMA Frost Radio (transcript via MMA News).
“Let’s run it back. We talked about it. I told him, ‘If you beat me fair and square, that’s fine. I can live with that.’ That’s the nature of the beast. This is a sport. But there was some uncostly intervention for him, but it was costly for me. And, yeah, I definitely want to run it back.”
Michael Chiesa added that, if this rematch is going to happen, he’d like it to happen soon.
“I’d rather do it sooner than later, because I’m a lot older than he is,” he said. “So I don’t want him catching me when I’m in the twilight years of my career and he’s getting into his physical prime. When you’re getting into your early 30s, that’s when you’re in your prime. So I’d rather fight Kevin sooner than later. But I can see the fight happening. It’s just all about timing and trajectory.”
And if it does happen, Chiesa assures controversial referee Mario Yamasaki will be nowhere near the cage.
“I respect every guy I fight. Do I think (Kevin Lee) is a dork? Absolutely. But that doesn’t mean he’s not a good fighter. So if the timing’s right, let’s run it back, main event, but no Yamasaki. That guy will never be remotely close to any of my fights ever again.”
Michael Chiesa is currently scheduled to battle Diego Sanchez at UFC 239. Would you be interested in seeing him rematch Kevin Lee after that?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 6/24/2019.