Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) welterweight contender Michael Chiesa, who battled his way to No. 7 in the lightweight rankings before moving up to 170 pounds, made his Octagon debut by choking out Al Iaquinta in The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 15 finale back in June 2012.
A world title, however, continues to elude him.
“It’s crazy to think I’ve been here for nine years,” Chiesa told MMA Fighting. “Am I turning into Michael Bisping? Am I going to be the guy that’s gotta battle it out for a decade before I get my title shot? If that’s the case, whatever. That’s fine. As long as I get one, sooner than later. I have to fight for the title. It’s my destiny.”
That destiny continues with fellow welterweight contender Vicente Luque, ranked one spot below Chiesa at No. 6. They’ll throw hands at the upcoming UFC 265 pay-per-view (PPV) event, scheduled for Sat., Aug. 7, 2021 inside Toyota Center in Houston, Texas.
“This is a test I need to pass before I get to that next level,” Chiesa continued. “If I can get a win, whether it be by finish or by decision, whatever the result is, I’m going to have to walk through the fire to get it. I want to fight for the title. If I go out there and have a dominant performance, I don’t see how I can’t stake my claim with a five-fight winning streak, and being the freshly minted No. 5 guy. Why not me?”
Chiesa (18-4) moved up from the lightweight division in late 2018 and has been aces ever since, to the tune of four straight wins over increasingly-difficult competition. As for Luque (20-7-1), he’s a torrid 9-1 over his last 10, having recently submitted former welterweight champion Tyron Woodley at UFC 260.
Unfortunately for the winner, the 170-pound line is getting longer by the minute.