Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) welterweight veteran Michael Chiesa, currently ranked No. 8 at 170 pounds, is looking to get back into the Octagon after undergoing surgery earlier this year and already has his sights set on a couple of big names.
Starting with former title contender Stephen Thompson.
“Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson, I think that’s a fight that really makes sense,” Chiesa told Submission Radio. “I’m lobbying for the guys ahead of me. This isn’t some callout, something out of disrespect. I’m just talking from a sensible standpoint. I think ‘Wonderboy’ makes sense. But we’ll also see what shakes out from this weekend. What if Tyron beats Colby and Colby falls down the ladder? He’s got to fight someone like me. So, there are still some fights that need to happen. But I think just the way things are now, I think ‘Wonderboy’ makes sense.”
Chiesa (17-4) has now captured three straight wins over some pretty stiff competition, including last January’s unanimous decision victory over ex-champion Rafael dos Anjos. If Thompson is not on the table, then “Maverick” would gladly settle for a showdown against rising star Khamzat Chimaev.
“What if Chimaev wins these next two fights? I wouldn’t mind Chimaev. I want guys ahead of me, I want household names,” Chiesa continued. “If he beats Maia and happens to jump ahead of me in the rankings, I’m all over that, you know what I mean? If it’s a guy that’s a prospect, even if it’s a prospect, if it’s somebody ranked ahead of me, I’m all over it. And if he wins these next two fights, his stock is going to go through the roof and he will be a household name, and I will welcome that fight with open arms.”
Thompson (15-4-1) remains unbooked at the moment whereas Chimaev is slated to throw down against Gerald Meerschaert at UFC Vegas 11 this weekend in “Sin City,” with the chance to move on and battle Demian Maia later this year.