ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — Spokane native UFC fighter Michael Chiesa won his first main event fight on Wednesday by unanimous decision against Neil Magny.
It was a part of UFC Fight Night in Abu Dhabi for Chiesa who hasn't fought in a year. Chiesa had to go five rounds for the first time in his career for the win.
“It’s not even a second or third wind," Chiesa said in a press conference after the fight. "You go until you die. I was ready to do that I was ready to push through that fifth round until literally I would have literally crossed and died in that octagon so be it. I wasn’t about to lose to fatigue in that fifth round. That’s all the more reason to be proud of myself. A year off and then jump into the main event against the cardio machine, I’m happy.”
His return was against one of the best in the welterweight class. He is the eighth ranked fighter in his class while Magny is ninth.
During the year away from fighting, he had knee surgery. He began working as an analyst for fights for ESPN, Chiesa said being healthy and see fights from a different perspective helped him prepare for this fight in a new way.
“Now as a broadcaster, being an analyst, I break these guys down taking myself out of the equation," he said. "It opens up my eyes to seeing their strengths and their weaknesses a lot more. Then when it comes back to plugging myself in the equation and competing against them, it makes it easier for me to know everything I can possibly expect getting into these fights.”
He said after the fight he wants to fight Colby Covington, who is the top ranked fighter in the class.
Whoever he fights, he has a message for the UFC world.
“These guys should be worried," Chiesa said. "The next time you see me this year I’m going to be a completely different guy. I’m going to be a totally different fighter. I’m goi my to prove I can be the best. I’m going to prove I can be in a number one contender fight by the end of the year.”