Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweight contender, Michael Chiesa, lost more than his Anthony Pettis fight at the UFC 223 pay-per-view (PPV) event last April in Brooklyn, New York, he also lost the chance to compete for the 155-pound strap against Khabib Nurmagomedov.
That’s because the top-ranked “Maverick” insists he would have been the first choice to replace Max Holloway after the state athletic commission ruled “Blessed” unfit to compete, an opportunity that was presented to several fighters but ultimately went to Al Iaquinta.
“I lost a title shot, I have proof, I was the highest-ranked guy on the card,” Chiesa said at his recent media scrum. “I would have stepped in to fight Khabib at the drop of a dime. I’ve always liked the way I matched up against him and I got fucked out of that opportunity.”
McGregor was not competing at UFC 223 but stormed “The Empire State” to defend his teammates honor. Artem Lobov got clowned by his Dagestani rival in the fighter hotel the day before, promoting “Notorious” to return the favor.
The result was an impromptu bus attack that sent glass flying into the face of “Maverick.”
“To lose the opportunity, that’s tough,” he said. “Opportunities like that don’t come along. I could strike along 15 wins in a row and still not get a title shot and I lost my opportunity and my dream. I hope that I’m gonna fight my ass off to earn it back starting on July 7 against Anthony Pettis. But yeah, tough pill to swallow.”
With Chiesa off the card, leaving Anthony Pettis without an opponent, the promotion has rebooked them to throw down at UFC 226 next month in Las Vegas, Nevada, where the winner will move on to fight ... well, that remains to be seen.
As does the return of McGregor, who must answer to the courts on July 26.