Michael Chiesa says Dustin Poirier was a big reason why he decided to move up to welterweight.
Chiesa was a top-15 lightweight, yet he had a tough cut and missed weight at UFC 226 when he lost to Anthony Pettis. After that fight, he moved up to 170-pounds and part of the reason was seeing how much success Poirier had from featherweight to lightweight.
“For me, the biggest one was Dustin Poirier,” Chiesa told MMA Junkie. “When he was at ’45, I remember seeing him at the airport one time and was like, ‘Dude, this guy is, like, wide – he is barrel-chested. That’s a big ’55-pounder, and he’s cutting to ’45.’ So I would see him and be like, ‘I’m not alone. At least I’m not the only guy cutting a lot of weight.’ And I saw him go up in weight class and saw the success he was having.
“I mean, look at his win streak he had, going into that Khabib (Nurmagomedov) fight. I was like, ‘Maybe that’s what I need to do. Maybe I need to make a change in my weight class.’ Look at the success Dustin Poirier is having, look at what he’s doing. There’s no reason why I shouldn’t give myself the opportunity to do the same thing.”
Chiesa also says he does not need to cut weight for his fighting style and feels much better at welterweight. He is currently 2-0 since moving up and set to scrap Rafael dos Anjos at UFC Raleigh on Jan. 25.