Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Quote: UFC Planned To Use Magny As Chimaev/Edwards Replacement

Things did not go as Michael Chiesa expected after news came down that Khamzat Chimaev was out of the UFC Fight Island 8 main event.

It has been over three years since Michael Chiesa competed in his first and only UFC main event. With Chiesa looking better than he ever has since moving up to welterweight, one would expect Chiesa to feel a sense of opportunity when the news was revealed that the original main event for UFC Fight Island 8, Leon Edwards vs. Khamzat Chimaev, was canceled after Chimaev was forced to withdraw from the bout.

After all, with Chiesa currently occupying the co-main event opposite Neil Magny, this could mean a bump up to the main event for Chiesa and an opportunity to redeem his loss to Kevin Lee at UFC Fight Night: Chiesa vs. Lee. But instead of gaining an opportunity, Chiesa was certain that he was losing one.

“I thought I was gonna lose the fight with Neil,” Chiesa told MMA Fighting. “Him and I have been eyeing each other for a while, so instantly I was like, ‘I kind of thought this was gonna happen.’

Michael Chiesa to make UFC welterweight debut in Las Vegas | Las Vegas  Review-Journal
Michael Chiesa. Image Credit: Erik Verduzco, Las Vegas Review-Journal.

“That’s why I didn’t announce the fight yet against anybody. As the day went on, it turned out to be a really good day. I thought it was gonna be a crappy day. I’m excited to be in the main event spot against a guy like Neil Magny. It’s gonna be a really fun fight for the fans.”

UFC Informed Chiesa That He Could Lose His Match Against Magny

Michael Chiesa’s presumption about losing the fight was not without reason. The top-10 welterweight claims that he was explicitly told by the UFC that should Edwards or Chimaev withdraw from the main event, Neil Magny would have been the replacement.

“I thought that they would give Neil the bump up just because they had him in that spot anyways to fight Khamzat had Leon fallen out, but I knew that could go both ways,” Chiesa said. “I had been kind of warned about that prior to the fight being booked: ‘Hey, it’s gonna be you and Magny, but just so you know, if something happens to Chimaev and Edwards on the Dec. 19 card we’re gonna bump Neil up.’

UFC Vegas 8: Neil Magny credits coaches and child to growth as fighter
Neil Magny

“I just thought something might happen with the main event, which I was right about. But I was wrong about one thing, I get to keep my Neil Magny fight.”

Keep the fight he will, and the fight between Chiesa and Magny goes down in one week on January 20th on Fight Island.

Do you believe the UFC should have bumped up Neil Magny to the UFC Fight Island 8 main event to fight Leon Edwards?