Michael Chiesa is fighting former UFC Interim Welterweight Champion Carlos Condit at UFC 232, which marks Chiesa’s welterweight division debut.
The TUF champion previously competed at lightweight, but never felt that his potential was fully lived up to at that weight class.
“Just to get back to contention,” Chiesa said on The MMA Hour. “I got as high as being ranked 7th at lightweight and I really believe this deep down to my bones that I was really only fighting to half my potential. I really feel like going up to 170 I’m going to really be able to show my skill set. I’m not gonna be a small welterweight. I’m bigger than probably 80 percent of the guys that are already welterweights right now. So my goal for 2019: win fights. Get in the top-10. Maybe getting closer to the top-5 by the end of 2019. But my long term goal is still the same. People may say I’m crazy. A lot of people say I can’t pull it off. I don’t give a f**k what they say. I know deep down I’m destined to be a world champion and maybe it’s to be attained in the most prestigious division in the UFC at welterweight. So that is my long term goal, but for now 2019, end in the top-10.”
Chiesa went 7-4-0 in the UFC Lightweight Division, but exits the weight class while riding a two fight losing streak.
A victory over Chiesa would do big things for his career, which is something Chiesa knows all to well.
“Those are the challenges I’m looking for,” Chiesa said. “This is a guy that could be the toughest test of my career. He’s a former world champion, those are the types of guys I want to fight. Anthony Pettis was my first shot at a former UFC champion and that’s a win that I wanted to get really badly. To beat somebody that held the title, that had the thing that I’m striving for, I need to get that win under my belt and I like the challenges that he presents.”
UFC 232 takes place on Saturday, December 29 from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada with Jon Jones and Amanda Nunes headlining. Fightful is providing live coverage of the event, with a post-show podcast to follow.