TUF winner Michael Chiesa has decided to move up in weight following devastating losses within the UFC’s lightweight division. Now the fighter has come forward to detail his plans with the welterweight class.
Speaking on The MMA Hour, Michael Chiesa has come forward to offer a few words on his decision to change divisions.
“Just to get back to contention. 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.”
“I can tell I’ve probably gained about six pounds of muscle in the past two-and-a-half months. I just feel good, to not have to stress about weight — to some people I sound like a psycho because I’m like, ‘I’m only a little more than 30 pounds over’, they’re like, ‘That’s still 30 pounds.’ Yeah, well it beats 50.
“It beats having to cut all that weight and if you see the trend nowadays, look at Dustin Poirier, look at Kelvin Gastelum, look at Robert Whittaker. They’re guys that are making that 15-pound jump and they’re killing it right now, so I just think that the trend now is to go to the weight class that’s most suited for your body. I was still part of that trend where it was see how low you can get, get as small as you can get, be the biggest guy in your weight class and it started to burn me out.”
“The biggest thing for me is I’ve been doing this for over 10 years and I love it, it’s a blessing to be able to get up and to compete and train and make fighting my job. But it started to lose its luster when all I’m doing is killing myself. This used to be fun to me and now it’s like this is fun again. I don’t have to stress about making this certain weight. I don’t have to eat spinach and egg whites year round. I can eat and I can be an athlete and I can lift weights and I don’t have to just focus on cutting weight all the time. I can focus on becoming a better fighter.”
“Those are the challenges I’m looking for. This is a guy that could be the toughest test of my career. He’s a former world champion, those are the types of guys I want to fight. Anthony Pettis was my first shot at a former UFC champion and that’s a win that I wanted to get really badly.
“To beat somebody that held the title, that had the thing that I’m striving for, I need to get that win under my belt and I like the challenges that he presents.”