UFC 226 fight week saw it’s shares of highs for some, and lows for others, one UFC fighter on the recieving end of those lows was perennial UFC lightweight contender, Michael Chiesa.
It all started on the day of UFC 226 weigh-ins as “Maverick” Chiesa was getting set for his biggest fight to date against seasoned veteran an former UFC Lightweight Champion, Anthony “Showtime” Pettis.
As Chiesa made his way up to the scale to weigh in, it was discovered he’d come in a lot heavier than normal, and missed the lightweight limit coming in at 157, 1.5 pounds above the maximum required weight.
Furious and frustrated after leaving the scale, Chiesa came to the reality this was surely his last time fight in the UFC Lightweight Division.
To add on top missing weight, Chiesa would go on to lose to Pettis the following night at UFC 226 via submission.
Now with the fight finally behind him, Chiesa appeared on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show on ESPN earlier this week to speak about the horrendous weight cut he endured, and how he feared it was going to kill himself.
“I can’t emphasize this enough, Ariel: I seriously thought I was going to die,” Chiesa said. “Going through the first part of my weight cut, on Thursday, I really thought I was going to kill myself and I’m not exaggerating in the slightest.”
Chiesa’s training camp was apparently hampered by a foot injury he sustained, in which he explained at that point he knew couldn’t cut anymore weight.
“Ultimately my body had nothing to give,” he said. “When you can’t do road work for a week-and-a-half, that’s really hard on your weight cut. I came into fight week at 175 pounds, and usually I come into fight week at 169, 168 pounds. It was just too much for my body to handle.”
“We cut weight for eight hours. We cut for four hours on Thursday night and I was up at 5 a.m. cutting weight on the day of weigh-ins [Friday] and my body had nothing more to give. I’m not exaggerating: I thought I was going to die. In the middle of the night before the Friday weigh-ins, I woke up and started having a panic attack. I broke down and started crying and was like, ‘I think I’m going to die.’
“I’ve never felt like this. I made 155 my whole career without a hitch and it never feels good, but it’s never like this, never in my life.”
With all that being said, Chiesa feels it’s time to move on to a different weight class, welterweight to be exact, in which Chiesa is confident he could excel in, and is the right one for him but believes there’s only one welterweight in particular he believes is much bigger than him.
“I was already in talks with people around me. Win or lose, after this fight, I think I want to go up,” he said. “A lot of people are trying to steer me to 170 pounds. I’m a big guy; people don’t realize that. There’s only one guy at 170 that’s bigger than me, and that’s Darren Till. I’m not a small guy. I can get up to 205 pounds and be athletic and be in shape.
“If [the 165-pound weight class] happens, it happens. If it does, I welcome it with open arms. I’m a big advocate for it. If they add 165 pounds, it would be heaven sent. It would be a blessing to a lot of us guys.”
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