Michael Chiesa has experienced plenty of trash talk with past opponents but there will be none of that ahead of his fight at UFC 232.
On Saturday night, Chiesa faces former UFC interim welterweight champion Carlos Condit, who is not only one of the best 170-pound fighters of all time but the kind of mixed martial artist who truly brings the fight every time he steps in the cage.
Condit may be a purveyor of violence when he fights but he’s never been the kind of mixed martial artist who feels the need to tear down an opponent ahead of a contest.
The same could definitely be said of Chiesa when it comes to his opinion of Condit ahead of Saturday night.
Chiesa would never talk bad about Condit because there’s a mutual respect between them but perhaps more importantly the former ‘Ultimate Fighter’ winner fully admits he’s a fan of ‘the Natural Born Killer’.
“It’s the hardcore fans like us who sees a fight being made like me and Carlos and we know that this is fireworks,” Chiesa said ahead of UFC 232. “I’m a fan first, I’m a fighter second and I’ve always been a fan of Carlos. I remember my first guest fighter gig, it was three days after I got off ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ and it was at that Fort Lauderdale show when [Demetrious Johnson] rematched Ian McCall. So I got to do guest fighter duties and I was paired up with Carlos Condit.
“The whole day I was like ‘holy crap, this is Carlos Condit’. I’ve always respected him and always been a fan of him but this is a sport. Sometimes you’ve got to go out there and fight your idols but this is legitimately a guy I’ve been a fan of.”
Obviously, Chiesa will have no problem setting that fandom aside to face Condit in combat at UFC 232 but in many ways that adoration may bring out the best in him.
“My prediction for this fight is it’s going to be blood and guts” ~ Michael Chiesa
It’s one thing to get fired up because you’re about to punch somebody you dislike. It’s a completely different level of motivation to compete with a fighter you truly admire and that’s exactly what Chiesa is feeling ahead of the showdown with Condit.
“He’s a real fighter,” Chiesa said about his opponent. “Carlos said it best. I love watching the ‘Countdown’ videos and I miss when they did the ‘Primetime’ videos and they were doing the ‘Primetime’ for Carlos Condit versus [Georges St-Pierre] and he said ‘my job is to go in there and make the referee save your life’. He said something of that sort and that still resonates with me to that day.
“This dude will make the referee earn every penny of his paycheck by laying the heat on you. He’s a fighter’s fighter. But it’s not going to hold me back from going out there and showcasing my skills and getting the win.”
Chiesa isn’t going to try and make a prediction for his fight with Condit but he can promise that the fans in attendance and the people watching at home are going to get a show.
Much of the attention leading into UFC 232 has been on the main and co-main events featuring Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson and Cris Cyborg against Amanda Nunes but Chiesa says his fight with Condit might be the one that leaves people with the biggest impression when the night is over.
“My prediction for this fight is it’s going to be blood and guts. It’s going to be a blood and guts fight for both of us,” Chiesa said. “He’s got things that are motivating him to come in and prove himself again. We’ve both got a lot to prove.
“It’s going to be blood and guts but I’m ready to go through hell or high water to get this win and I believe I can do it.”