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UFC Fight Island 8: With ‘dark days’ behind him, Michael Chiesa says his time is now

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UFC Fight Night: Blaydes v Dos Santos Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Winner of three straight, Michael Chiesa will look to earn his longest win streak inside the Octagon this week (Weds., Jan. 20, 2021) when he takes on Neil Magny in the main event of UFC Fight Island 8 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

Since making the jump up to Welterweight, “Maverick” hasn’t tasted defeat and has racked up impressive wins over Carlos Condit, Diego Sanchez and Rafael dos Anjos. His last fight took place more than one year ago, and while he was scheduled to make his return in mid-2020, Chiesa had to hit the pause button on his comeback due to knee surgery.

According to “Maverick,” the procedure was only supposed to take an hour at the most, but after the surgeon ran into some complications it wound up being a six-hour process.

Nevertheless, Chiesa feels better than ever.

“I feel like a new man since July, but that surgery did not go as well as we had hoped. It was supposed to be around 45 minutes to an hour, max, but it turned out to be a 6.5 hours surgery. They really kind of did a number on me and I definitely had some dark days throughout the recovery process,” he said during a recent interview on “What The Heck” (via MMA Fighting).

“I knew I was going to compete again, but was my leg going to be the same? I think that’s normal for anybody going through the recovery process, but I definitely had some dark days. Those are behind me, my leg is 100 percent, and I can do a lot of things I couldn’t do before. To be able to go through a whole training camp without dragging my knee behind me, it’s been really nice. It’s been refreshing,” he added.

While Chiesa has had his fair share of battles against people he didn’t think too highly of in the past, which lead to battles outside of the cage and memorable press conferences, “Maverick” says it’s refreshing to be facing someone he really likes and admires not only as a fighter, but a person.

Still, he won’t take it easy on Magny come fight night because he has his own goals to accomplish in 2021. And after competing inside the Octagon since 2012, Chiesa feels his time is now.

“I’ve got lofty goals but I think I can achieve them. It’s my time. I’m 33 years old, been in the UFC for nine years. I feel like I’m at my best, in my prime, and I feel like this is a good showcase fight for me,” he concluded.

It’s safe to assume that if he can rack up his fourth straight win against a high-level opponent such as Magny, Chiesa will get a huge bump in the rankings and even more dangerous foe in his next outing.