Michael Chiesa still has some gas left in the tank.
UFC 291 didn’t go as planned for the returning “Maverick” this past weekend (July 29, 2023). Tasked with Kevin Holland in a Welterweight affair, the 35-year-old Chiesa lost his third consecutive bout, tapping to a first round d’arce choke (watch highlights).
“If it was up to me, I’d like to just tuck my tail and hide away from the world,” Chiesa said on his UFC Round Up podcast. “But unfortunately, I can’t do that and I will refuse to let myself do that. I’m just kind of really leaning on my friends and my family right now. I was very prepared going into that fight. I’ve just had this knack where I let certain things get into my head and mentally I just didn’t show up.
“I’ll just come right out and say it, I fought a little scared,” he continued. “I was a little gunshy and you can’t be gunshy in this game. You’ve got to go out there and be confident in your skills and I just didn’t execute the way that I was supposed to.”
Holland marked Chiesa’s first in-Octagon appearance since Nov. 2021 when he dropped a unanimous decision to Sean Brady. The Ultimate Fighter 15 (TUF) winner is heading into his 12th year with the promotion and this current losing skid is the longest of his 25-fight career (18-7).
Despite the criticism of his performance that has followed throughout the community, Chiesa doesn’t plan on succumbing to the noise and hopes to return around the end of 2023.
“MMA fans are coming at me all different types of directions, saying I should retire and I should be done, be a broadcaster now,” Chiesa said. “There’s just so many things that people are saying but it’s just gonna sweeten the pot because I’m not done. I just didn’t show up on fight night.
“Trust me, I’m not gonna be the guy to overstay my welcome,” he concluded. “But I’m just not done yet. I have more to prove to myself.”