Michael Chiesa Willing To Step In If Nurmagomedov Or Ferguson Fall Off UFC 223
Michael Chiesa takes on Anthony Pettis at UFC 223 on April 7 in a highly anticipated clash at 155-pounds.
UFC 223 features no shortage of 155-pounds bouts with Tony Ferguson vs Khabib Nurmagomedov, Evan Dunham vs Mairbek Taisumov, and Al Iaquinta vs Paul Felder also taking place on the card. The stakes in the lightweight division will be high on fight night and the opportunity to impress certainly hasn’t been lost on Chiesa who will be looking to bounce back from a loss to Kevin Lee last June.
“It’s the type of matchup I was looking for,” Chiesa told MMAJunkie Radio. “I want my name to get right back in the mix. A series of unfortunate events led to my last fight coming up short against Kevin and he went on to fight for a title. That was a gut bomb in itself when I read the lines, but a win over Anthony Pettis gets me right back in the mix with those guys. You saw what it did for Poirier when he went out there and beat him. I got to do the same thing, but I got to do it better.
“It’s just the perfect matchup for me. He’s a tough guy, but a lot of guys count Anthony out saying he’s done, but look who he’s fought. He doesn’t roll over for anyone and he’s a tough dude. I’m just looking at getting out there and this is my first time fighting a former world champion so it’s a very exciting time for me.”
The scheduled main event between Ferguson and Nurmagomedov has been cancelled no fewer than three times in the past and Chiesa is as aware as anyone that it wouldn’t be a surprise it fell through for a fourth time. With that in mind, Chiesa wants to make it very clear that he will happily step up to the mark and fill in if either men fall off the card.
“The other thing that is good is that Khabib or Ferguson, one of those guys could get hurt,” Chiesa said. “That matchup might be plagued and I’m the highest ranked lightweight on the card aside from those guys even though I’m coming off an ‘L’ it wouldn’t be out of the UFC’s mode of operation to throw me into the title fight if one of those guys falls short.
“It puts me in the perfect situation.”
That’s good to know, but lets keep our fingers crossed it doesn’t come to that.