Michael Chiesa will be in the main event against Neil Magny at Fight Island on January 20. The two welterweights were moved up the card after the fight between Leon Edwards and Khamzat Chimaev had to be canceled due to COVID-19 issues. They will now headline a Wednesday card sandwiched between the recent Max Holloway and Calvin Kattar card and UFC 257 this weekend.
As the fight between the two welterweight contenders draws near, we look at five things you need to know about the ‘Maverick’.
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He is an Ultimate Fighter Winner
Chiesa earned his way into The Ultimate Fighter house during the season coached by Dominick Cruz and Urijah Faber. Having made his way to the house, Chiesa would be selected by Team Faber. Tragically Chiesa’s terminally ill father had passed away shortly after his victory.
Chiesa officially made his UFC debut at The Ultimate Fighter 15 Finale. He faced fellow Team Faber member Al Iaquinta after he beat James Vick in the semi-finals. Chiesa defeated Iaquinta by rear-naked choke midway into the first round, thus becoming The Ultimate Fighter. He also received the Submission of the Night award for his efforts.
Never mention Michael Chiesa’s family
One of the most memorable press conferences in recent UFC history was when at a UFC summer kick-off press conference ahead of UFC 211. Then a lightweight contender, Chiesa was scheduled to face Kevin Lee. During the press conference, Lee mentioned that Chiesa’s mother had tickets to the show, to which Chiesa responded, “don’t you ever talk about my mom.”
Now a viral moment, it would lead into a verbal altercation, ultimately having punches being thrown two. Both fighters would be escorted from the stage after the UFC staff had to break the two apart. Chiesa would end up losing the fight via technical submission, although there was some controversy over the stoppage.
Lawsuit on Conor McGregor
At UFC 223, Michael Chiesa was expected to face Anthony Pettis on the PPV headlined by Khabib Nurmagomedov and Al Iaquinta. The fight however had to be canceled due to the now-infamous backstage incident involving Conor McGregor. ‘The Notorious’ threw a dolly at a UFC bus that Chiesa and Khabib Nurmagomedov was traveling on.
The dolly would break a window of the bus leading to fighters such as Chiesa and Ray Borg being hit by shards of glass. ‘Maverick’ would end up needing hospitalization, subsequently resulting in the fight’s cancellation.
Chiesa announced to the media that he would sue McGregor for assault, battery, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The bout with Pettis was rescheduled to UFC 226 with Chiesa getting trapped in a submission.
Michael Chiesa used to have a Mullet
One of the things Chiesa was best known for, apart from his fighting pedigree, was his mullet. The Washington native was always seen sporting his “business in the front, party in the back” look for years. However, ahead of his fight with Diego Sanchez at UFC 239, the ‘Maverick’ surprised the media as he showed up without his iconic hairstyle.
Chiesa explained to TMZ that he chopped off his hair at his girlfriend’s request. All good things have to come to an end, and the mullet was no different. He told the media he felt it was time to grow up having had the mullet for a better part of his life. He also exclaimed that he aimed at looking more professional and civilized.
UFC commentator ambitions
At 33 years now, Chiesa is also looking out for his future after fighting. He seems to have found his place as a UFC analyst and is seen as one of the top analysts in the sport. However, ‘Maverick’ is aiming to be amongst the best and find himself not behind the desk, but in the commentator booth.
Chiesa faces stiff competition with the likes of Joe Rogan, Jon Anik, Daniel Cormier, and even Dominick Cruz. However, the UFC has always looked to promote their talent and give fighters the opportunity to continue in the sport even after their fighting days are done.
Read: Michael Chiesa Says Getting a Commentator’s Role at UFC Is His Aim
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