Now that both men are at 170 pounds, Michael Chiesa is eying a rematch with former foe Kevin Lee.
The pair initially met back in the summer of 2017, where Lee submitted Chiesa in the first round. However, the finish was a controversial one, as Chiesa never went out or tapped to Lee’s rear-naked choke. Since, both men have jumped up from lightweight, and now compete at 170 pounds.
Chiesa had a successful debut at welterweight this past December at UFC 232, submitting Carlos Condit. As for Lee, he has been struggling as of late, with two-straight defeats inside the Octagon. He debuted at 170 pounds with a submission loss to Rafael dos Anjos in May.
“Let’s run it back. We talked about it. I told him, ‘If you beat me fair and square, that’s fine. I can live with that.’ That’s the nature of the beast. This is a sport. But there was some uncostly intervention for him, but it was costly for me. And, yeah, I definitely want to run it back.”
At 31-years-old, Chiesa would rather run it back with “The Motown Phenom” now rather than later, as he doesn’t want to get caught by the 26-year-old Lee at the tail end of his career:
“I’d rather do it sooner than later, because I’m a lot older than he is,” Chiesa said. “So I don’t want him catching me when I’m in the twilight years of my career and he’s getting into his physical prime.
“When you’re getting into your early 30s, that’s when you’re in your prime. So I’d rather fight Kevin sooner than later. But I can see the fight happening. It’s just all about timing and trajectory.”
There was a ton of bad-blood between Lee and Chiesa heading into their first fight. However, “Maverick” maintains he respects every man who steps into the Octagon against him, even if Lee is a “dork”:
“I respect every guy I fight. Do I think (Kevin Lee) is a dork? Absolutely. But that doesn’t mean he’s not a good fighter. So if the timing’s right, let’s run it back, main event, but no Yamasaki. That guy will never be remotely close to any of my fights ever again.”