Michael Chiesa looks to move past loss to Kevin Lee

Updated March 26, 2018 - 10:05 pm

UFC lightweight contender Michael Chiesa is doing his best to move on from a disappointing and emotional loss to Kevin Lee in June.

It’s not easy considering how often they cross paths while training under the same roof in Las Vegas.

“I don’t try to avoid him,” Chiesa said Monday of Lee, who also spends the majority of his time training at the UFC Performance Institute. “There are some hand gestures thrown around, but that’s about it. I don’t like the guy, but I do respect him as a competitor. We had a locker room talk about a potential rematch in July and we’ll see what happens with that. Right now, my focus is completely on Anthony Pettis.”

Chiesa, 30, will meet the former champion on the UFC 223 card in Brooklyn, New York, on April 7.

It’s a good opportunity to put the loss to Lee in the past.

Chiesa was in trouble almost immediately in that fight only to have the referee step in and call a premature end to the action because he thought Chiesa was in more danger than was actually the case. It was particularly frustrating on the heels of a skirmish between the two at a news conference several months earlier.

Chiesa is ready to move on and knows a win over a fighter of Pettis’ caliber can help him do that.

“You’ve got to have a short-term memory,” he said Monday. “I did my boo-hooing and then just put it behind me. I’m back. It feels good and my sole focus is Anthony Pettis. I’m very focused on him right now.”

He’s also focused on putting together the right training camp for the fight and believes he has done so with his work at the Performance Institute. Chiesa still insists he is committed to his Sik Jitsu team back home in Spokane, Washington, but feels the training staff at the Las Vegas facility provides him a new look at the best methods and techniques to help him get to the next level.

“I want to go undefeated on the year,” he said. “I’m in the best place I’ve been in my career. I’ve done my whole camp in Las Vegas. My body is healthy and it’s the best I’ve ever felt going into a fight. I’m around a world-class staff that is pushing me to the limit while making sure I don’t break myself, which is something I’ve had a problem with. This is the time and this is my plan to be the No. 1 contender by December.”

Chiesa, who had his three-fight winning streak snapped by Lee, has never lost two consecutive fights.

While he has competed just twice since the start of 2016, the 30-year-old is more concerned with who he fights than how often he gets to step in the cage.

“I’m all about quality fights,” he said. “People keep reminding me that I’ve only fought twice in the last two years or whatever, but I’m all about quality right now. I got myself where I am in the UFC and to this point in the rankings fighting three times a year. Now it’s all about the quality and I’m fighting a former champion on one of the biggest events of the year. That’s quality.”

The bout is part of a main card headlined by a lightweight title bout between Khabib Nurmagomedov and interim champ Tony Ferguson.

Barnett avoids punishment

UFC heavyweight Josh Barnett successfully argued his case with USADA to an arbitrator and emerged without a suspension.

He is eligible to return to competition immediately.

The 40-year-old had been facing a maximum ban of four years after an out-of-competition test in December 2016 showed the presence of synthetic testosterone.

Barnett refused proposed settlement offers of 24 and 18 months from USADA and instead opted for arbitration to settle the matter. USADA conceded the positive test stemmed from a supplement he consumed that contained tribulus terrestris, a legal herb.

“I proved my innocence as I stated from the beginning and now I can look towards getting back in the ring in the near future,” Barnett posted on social media. “The time I lost though can never be regained. It should not have had to come to all of this.”

Barnett’s last fight was a third-round submission victory over former champ Andrei Arlovski in September 2016.

“He unknowingly ingested a contaminated product,” independent arbiter Richard H. McLaren, chief arbitrator of McLaren Global Sport wrote in his decision. “In so doing, he did commit an (anti-doping policy violation) because he had a prohibited substance in his sample but he did not actively engage in attempting, in any way, to engage in the use of a prohibited substance.”

No return date has been set for Barnett now that he is eligible.

More MMA: Follow all of our MMA and UFC coverage online at CoveringTheCage.com and @CoveringTheCage on Twitter.

Contact Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com or 702-277-8028. Follow @AdamHillLVRJ on Twitter.

Covering The Cage Videos
Greg Hardy, former NFL star, on MMA knockout
The former NFL star needed just 17 seconds to score a knockout on Dana White's Tuesday Night Contender Series (Adam Hill/Review-Journal)
Marlon Moraes says Henry Cejudo will regret stepping up to bantamweight - VIDEO
UFC flyweight champion Henry Cejudo is coming up to the bantamweight division to battle Marlon Moraes for the vacant belt on June 8 at UFC 238. Moraes said Cejudo will regret going after a second title in a new division and added that he thinks his path will cross with former champion TJ Dillashaw in the future.
Paige VanZant details her arm injury, when she can return - VIDEO
UFC strawweight Paige VanZant was briefly linked to fight at UFC 236, but had to withdraw from the bout due to a broken arm. As a guest on the RJ Ringside Podcast, she detailed the injury and also spoke about joining the M-1 Global booth as a color commentator.
UFC 236 Press Conference Highlights
UFC 236 will feature a pair of interim title fights. In the main event, UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway will face lightweight contender Dustin Poirier and middleweights Israel Adesanya and Kelvin Gastelum will collide in the co-main event. UFC 236 will take place in Atlanta, Ga., on Apr. 13.
Jon Jones retains light heavyweight belt at UFC 235 - VIDEO
Jon Jones retained the UFC light heavyweight belt when he earned a decision over Anthony Smith in the main event of UFC 235.
Kamaru Usman crowned new champ at UFC 235 — VIDEO
Kamaru Usman became the first African-born fighter to claim a UFC belt when he defeated Tyron Woodley to become the promotion's new welterweight champion.
UFC 235 Official Weigh-in Results - VIDEO
All 24 fighters competing at UFC 235 at the T-Mobile Arena on March 2 stepped on the scale prior for the official fight card weigh-ins. All four fighters competing in the title bouts slated for the event made weight.
UFC's Jones says he has no shame after recent drug test results are released - VIDEO
Though recent drug test results still show trace amounts of Turinabol in his system, UFC light heayvweight champion Jon Jones says he has no shame and is hiding nothing as he prepares for his UFC 235 title bout against Anthony Smith.
Anthony Smith stays level-headed prior to UFC 235 title fight - VIDEO
Despite UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones being in the spotlight for drug test discrepancies and other outside the cage struggles, Anthony Smith says he is tuning out the noise and remaining focused on the challenge of beating the reigning champion in the cage.
UFC 235 Media Day Highlights
Highlights and staredowns from the top three fights on the UFC 235 fight card taking place at the T-Mobile Arena on March 2.
UFC 235 press conference highlights
UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley and Kamaru Usman have a heated exchange and Ben Askren enjoys his time on the stage by interacting with UFC president Dana White.
UFC president Dana White talks UFC 235 and more
UFC president Dana White joined Heidi Fang and Adam Hill to discuss the UFC 235 card set for Las Vegas on Mar. 2 at the T-Mobile Arena and also spoke on Colby Covington and Khabib Nurmagomedov's and Conor McGregor's disciplinary measures given by the Nevada Athletic Commission. Full version available on Facebook at Review-Journal Sports
Tyron Woodley and Kamaru Usman Have Heated Exchange At UFC 235 Presser - VIDEO
UFC 235 opened with Jon Jones returning after his meeting at the Nevada Athletic commission, Tyron Woodley and Kamaru Usman arguing on stage and Ben Askren making his UFC debut.
NAC Chairman says it's time to tone down MMA smack talk ahead of fights
After announcing the fines and suspensions given to Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov for their involvement in a melee at UFC 229 in Las Vegas, Nevada Athletic Commission Chairman Anthony Marnell said it may be time to address "mouthy fighters" smack talk and conduct leading up to a fight.
Jones, NAC Chairman issue statements following Jones' licensing approval for UFC 235
The Nevada Athletic Commission issued UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones a conditional one-fight license to compete at UFC 235 taking place at the T-Mobile Arena on Mar. 2. Jones had to reapply for a license in Nevada after failing a drug test which led to UFC 232 being moved from Las Vegas to Los Angeles, California.
TOP NEWS
Home Front Page Footer Listing