Khabib Nurmagomedov is not the real lightweight champion in the eyes of Michael Chiesa.
Back in April, Nurmagomedov took on Al Iaquinta in the main event of UFC 223. The event took place inside the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY. “The Eagle” was set to take on Tony Ferguson, but he went down with an injury. Then, Max Holloway stepped up but was deemed medically unfit to compete during his weight cut.
Nurmagomedov ended up settling for Al Iaquinta and defeated him via unanimous decision. “The Eagle” may be the UFC lightweight champion, but he didn’t face a top contender. Of course this is no fault of Nurmagomedov.
Still, Chiesa told the folks over at Submission Radio that he sees Ferguson as the real champion (via Bloody Elbow):
“In my eyes, Tony Ferguson’s the champion. I mean, his win streak has a lot of prestigious names to it. You know, he beat Kevin Lee, he beat Rafael dos Anjos, he beat Edson Barboza, he’s got that long laundry list of guys in his win streak. So, I look at Tony as the champion. But, you know, I’m not taking anything away from Khabib. He’s got, what, 25-0, 26-0 record all together? So, his win streak’s insane, but I look at Tony as the champion. Now, if Tony and Khabib fight, who knows how that fight goes, but just in my eyes I think that Tony’s the champion.”
Chiesa will be in action on July 7. “The Maverick” will go one-on-one with former UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis at UFC 226. The two were supposed to meet at UFC 223, but an incident caused by Conor McGregor and his entourage led to Chiesa’s forehead being cut. “The Maverick” wouldn’t be cleared to compete.
Does Michael Chiesa have a point?