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Michael Chiesa: ‘I thought I was going to die’ during UFC 226 weight cut

Michael Chiesa recounts the harrowing moments during his weight cut in preparation for the Anthony Pettis fight at UFC 226.

UFC lightweight contender Michael Chiesa tipped the scales 1.5 pounds heavier than the limit for his fight against Anthony Pettis at UFC 226 on Saturday. It was the first time missing the mark for him since he made his UFC debut in 2012.

Apparently, the weight cut he went through was a dreadful one, to say the least. In a recent interview with ESPN’s Ariel Helwani on Monday, the TUF 15 alum recounted the moments when he actually felt he was in the brink of death.

”I can’t emphasize this enough, Ariel: I seriously thought I was going to die,” Chiesa recalled. “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.”

”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.’”

”I’ve never felt like this,” he added. “I made 155 my whole career without a hitch and it never feels good, but it’s never like this, never in my life.”

Even during the official weigh-ins, Chiesa mentioned that UFC 226 would be his last fight at 155 pounds. In his ideal world, a 165-pound division would be in existence, but being realistic, he foresees himself fighting his next bouts at 170 pounds.

”I was already in talks with people around me. Win or lose, after this fight, I think I want to go up,” Chiesa 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.”

”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.”

The 30-year-old Chiesa, who was one of those who were hurt during Conor McGregor’s UFC 223 bus rampage in April, also confirmed that “the wheels are in motion” in terms of taking legal action against “The Notorious.”