Michael Chiesa’s first ever UFC main event did not go as he wanted it to, and almost two years to the day, Chiesa still would like to run it back with Kevin Lee.
Kevin Lee defeated Michael Chiesa in the main event of UFC Fight Night 112, but it was not without controversy. Kevin Lee’s rear-naked choke submission appeared to put Chiesa out according to referee Mario Yamasaki, only for Chiesa to immediately leap up to his feet in protest. What made this outcome even more sour for Chiesa is the fact that he and Kevin Lee had a very heated buildup to the fight, with no shortage of trash talking between the two. Recently, Michael Chiesa had a run-in with his former opponent and he told Kevin Lee directly that they still have some unfinished business:
“We seen each other face to face. I saw him at the PI in the locker room before he fought Barboza. And this was before I fought Pettis at 223,” Chiesa said in an interview on MMA Frost Radio.
“Let’s run it back. We talked about it. I told him, ‘If you beat me fair and square, that’s fine. I can live with that.’ That’s the nature of the beast. This is a sport. But there was some uncostly intervention for him, but it was costly for me. And, yeah, I definitely want to run it back.”
Michael Chiesa then frankly admitted to why a rematch now would be preferred to a rematch later:
“I’d rather do it sooner than later, because I’m a lot older than he is,” Chiesa said. “So I don’t want him catching me when I’m in the twilight years of my career and he’s getting into his physical prime. When you’re getting into your early 30s, that’s when you’re in your prime. So I’d rather fight Kevin sooner than later. But I can see the fight happening. It’s just all about timing and trajectory.”
And despite all the bad blood leading up to their fight two years ago, Michael Chiesa still carries respect for his former foe. But as for the referee of the bout, Mario Yamasaki, well, that’s another story:
“I respect every guy I fight. Do I think (Kevin Lee) is a dork? Absolutely. But that doesn’t mean he’s not a good fighter. So if the timing’s right, let’s run it back, main event, but no Yamasaki. That guy will never be remotely close to any of my fights ever again.”
Do you believe a rematch between Kevin Lee and Michael Chiesa would yield a different outcome than their first bout?