clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Michael Chiesa: In my eyes, Tony Ferguson is the UFC lightweight champion

For UFC welterweight contender Michael Chiesa, interim 155-pound titleholder Tony Ferguson is the undisputed lightweight champion.

Khabib Nurmagomedov was crowned the UFC undisputed lightweight champion at UFC 223 last April after defeating Al Iaquinta. But despite this win, interim titleholder Tony Ferguson continues to recognize himself as the “true champion.”

Number nine-ranked 155-pound contender Michael Chiesa is in full agreement with “El Cucuy.” For him, it is Ferguson’s streak and resumé that warrants him to hold such an accolade.

“In my eyes, Tony Ferguson’s the champion,” Chiesa told Submission Radio in a recent interview. “I mean, his win streak has a lot of prestigious names to it. You know, he beat Kevin Lee, he beat Rafael dos Anjos, he beat Edson Barboza, he’s got that long laundry list of guys in his win streak.”

“So, I look at Tony as the champion. But, you know, I’m not taking anything away from Khabib. He’s got, what, 25-0, 26-0 record all together? So, his win streak’s insane, but I look at Tony as the champion. Now, if Tony and Khabib fight, who knows how that fight goes, but just in my eyes I think that Tony’s the champion.”

Chiesa is currently slated to face former lightweight champion Anthony Pettis at UFC 226 this July, a fight that was originally scheduled for UFC 223. But if it were up to him, he would actually choose to fight Ferguson, instead.

“Actually, of all the guys, I’d rather fight Tony. Just because Tony and I were supposed to fight in 2016 and that never came to fruition,” Chiesa said. “And I look at Tony as the toughest match-up for me. With that being said, I think him being the toughest match-up for me will bring out the best in me.”

“I’m the type of guy where I feel like if you throw me in against the guy that’s gonna be my hardest match-up, I think that’s gonna bring out the best in me, and I know that the best of me can beat anybody on any given day to become the world champion. So, Tony is the fight that I like for myself.”

UFC 226 takes place on July 7th in Las Vegas and will be headlined by the heavyweight super-fight between champions Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Bloody Elbow Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your MMA and UFC news from Bloody Elbow