Michael Chiesa may be coming off back-to-back losses, but as the former lightweight contender gets set to make moves in the UFC’s welterweight division, “Maverick” has fired some choice words at his critics.
Following Chiesa’s controversial, submission loss to Kevin Lee last year, the talented grappler was booked to fight former lightweight champ, Anthony Pettis, this past July. Chiesa came in over weight for the contest, and ended up getting caught with a second round, triangle-choke.
Well, since then, Chiesa has made the move to welterweight, and the 30 year-old will face longtime contender, Carlos Condit, on December 29th. In advance of the bout, Chiesa appeared on “The MMA Hour”, and while discussing his move to 170, and his goals, he said the following (quotes via Bloody Elbow.com):
“Just to get back to contention,” Chiesa said. “I got as high as being ranked 7th at lightweight and I really believe this deep down to my bones that I was really only fighting to half my potential. I really feel like going up to 170 I’m going to really be able to show my skill set. I’m not gonna be a small welterweight. I’m bigger than probably 80 percent of the guys that are already welterweights right now.”
“So my goal for 2019: win fights. Get in the top-10. Maybe getting closer to the top-5 by the end of 2019. But my long term goal is still the same. People may say I’m crazy. A lot of people say I can’t pull it off. I don’t give a f**k what they say. I know deep down I’m destined to be a world champion and maybe it’s to be attained in the most prestigious division in the UFC at welterweight. So that is my long term goal, but for now 2019, end in the top-10.”
Now, yes, chances are some fans will scoff at Chiesa’s comments here, in terms of winning the welterweight title. The 170 division is ridiculously stacked, and Chiesa hasn’t fought yet at welterweight.
But, you can’t fault Chiesa for being confident and believing in himself. Chiesa has scored impressive wins over established opponents like Al Iaquinta, Francisco Trinaldo, Jim Miller and Beneil Dariush. Further, who knows how Chiesa will look competing at 170? Not having to endure a vicious cut to 155?
If Chiesa can go out and defeat Condit, who is a tough out for any welterweight, then he will have a ton of momentum behind him, heading into 2019.
UFC 232 will be hosted by the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.