The UFC can’t institute the 165-pound weight class soon enough.
At least, according to former lightweight Michael “Maverick” Chiesa. Chiesa stepped on the scale for the UFC 226 weigh-ins last Friday (July 6, 2018) weighing 157.5-pounds; one-and-a-half pounds more than the lightweight non-title fight limit. As a result, before his main card bout with Anthony “Showtime” Pettis, Chiesa said he would be moving up to 170 pounds, win or lose.
Chiesa would go on to lose his second straight fight at UFC 226 when Pettis caught the TUF winner in a fight-ending triangle choke. But upon further review, losing the fight was perhaps a secondary concern for Chiesa, who realistically put his health in danger by attempting to cut so much weight.
Speaking with ESPN’s Ariel Helwani earlier today, Chiesa would detail just how difficult this weight cut was for him.
“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 has been dealing with an on again off again type foot injury, but he insisted his nagging injury had nothing to do with his performance, rather, he just pushed his body to the limit.
“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.’
A dejected Chiesa would state he is moving up to 170-pounds, after some time to reflect “Maverick” isn’t sure where he will be competing moving forward.
“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.”
The talk of adding more weight classes continues to be a hot-button topic in the UFC. Chiesa is the latest in a long line of high-level fighters that would welcome the 165-pound class with open arms.
“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.”