Based on recent production, Michael Chiesa may be the most underrated lightweight on the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) roster. He not only submitted the likes of Beneil Dariush and Jim Miller, but stands as the last man to defeat Francisco Trinaldo inside of the Octagon. Rightfully so, the former Ultimate Fighter winner is looking to land some big fights. Despite calling out former divisional champion Eddie Alvarez earlier this year, “Maverick” saw Alvarez book a fight with Dustin Poirier for UFC 211. With the weight class currently in gridlock and nowhere else to look but up, Chiesa is focusing his attention on another top dog.
“You know, I want to fight guys that are ranked around where I’m at or ahead of me,” said Chiesa in a recent interview with BJ Penn Radio. “So I’ve got my sights set back on Tony. I’m not looking for an easy fight. We all know, Tony Ferguson is about as tough of an out as you’re going to get at 155 pounds. The guys no joke, he’s on a nine-fight win-streak. But you know what? That’s the last guy I was supposed to get scheduled against. To my understanding, Khabib Nurmagomedov is out indefinitely until he decides to come back. I don’t know if Tony wants to sit around and wait for a title shot, or if he wants to finish unfinished business. Nothing but respect for the guy, he’s a hell of a competitor, but I’d love the chance to compete against him.”
In case you forgot, Ferguson vs. Chiesa was in the works for UFC Fight Night 91 last year, but “Maverick” was forced to pull out of that bout with a back injury. He was replaced by Lando Vannata, who nearly ended Ferguson’s win streak with an unexpected fill-in performance for the ages. Now healthy, Chiesa wants the shot at “El Cucuy” that he previously earned.
“I’m looking way far ahead,” added Chiesa. “I’m looking for the title. I’m looking for the fights that are gonna get me there. Those are the fights I’m going to ask for first, and in my opinion, a fight with Ferguson, it doesn’t seem that unrealistic to me. We were scheduled to fight each other before. If you look at the landscape of the division, it really doesn’t seem too far off for the fight to make sense.
“If [McGregor] moves on to fight Floyd [Mayweather], and Khabib is out indefinitely, why not me and Ferguson for the interim title? I was almost the man for the job when Ferguson didn’t come to terms for the Khabib fight. I was the guy that was going to fight Khabib! I’m on the brink of breaking into these fights.”
If UFC is reluctant to re-book Ferguson vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov, Chiesa could potentially squeeze his way in the door and fight Ferguson before lightweight champion Conor McGregor comes back from his paternity leave. Outside of a doctor’s stoppage opposite Joe Lauzon, Jorge Masvidal is the only fighter to defeat “Maverick” inside of the cage.
Only time will tell if Chiesa gets the opportunity to leap frog his peers and take advantage of an already wonky rankings system.
Source:: mma mania