Welterweight contender Michael Chiesa is one of a few men willing to fight Leon Edwards but even he admits a fight against Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson is preferable.

Chiesa has been sidelined since beating the former lightweight champion, Rafael Dos Anjos earlier this year. ‘Maverick’ underwent surgery in July and is now aiming to fight in December or January – potentially against the avoided Englishman, Edwards.  

“I don’t think Leon’s gonna get the title shot next,” Chiesa told Submission Radio. “I think they’re gonna make him fight someone else. And that’s a fight – look, I don’t even ask for Leon, because I feel it’s out of line. He won eight fights in a row, he should be fighting for the title, you know what I mean? I’ve only won three in a row. But that’s a guy I would welcome a fight with. I’m really gunning for the top of the heap. I want to fight guys ranked ahead of me. I’ve been in the UFC for almost nine years. I’ve fought prospects, I’ve fought veterans, I’ve fought former champions. I’ve fought first-ballot hall of famers. I’ve fought a laundry list. Every type of person in any position in the fight game, I have fought. So, I’m really aiming ahead. So, if Leon Edwards is the fight, I welcome it. I like that fight a lot.”

The #8 ranked welterweight admits a fight against #3 Edwards would not necessarily make the most sense and for that reason he sent a reluctant call out the NMF in the game and #6 ranked Stephen Thompson.

“I feel like, and I hate saying it cause he’s so damn nice, he’s the nicest guy in the sport, and you guys probably know who I’m going to say. This dude, he’s an awesome guy. If we’re talking about one of the most genuinely nicest guys in the sport, one of the true good guys in the sport, Stephen Wonderboy Thompson,” Chiesa said. “I think that’s a fight that really makes sense. Like I said, I’m lobbying for the guys ahead of me. I think that’s a fight that makes sense. And he’s a hell of a guy. This isn’t some callout, something out of disrespect. I’m just talking from a sensible standpoint. I think Wonderboy makes sense.”

Do you want to see Michael Chiesa matched up against Leon Edwards, Stephen Thompson or someone else next?

A lifelong fight fan from Liverpool, England who has been covering mixed martial arts (MMA) and boxing for several years. Follow @JordanEllisUK on Twitter for all the latest fight news, views, interviews and live event coverage.