Michael Chiesa: “I was a fan of Masvidal’s before I ever even trained.”

Michael Chiesa: “I was a fan of Masvidal’s before I ever even trained.”

There are no easy wins in the Octagon. However, there are varying levels of competitition, and as such most people who follow MMA would argue UFC lightweight Jorge Masvidal (24-7) is a step above the man he replaced at UFC on FOX 8, Reza Madadi. In fact, it’s an opinion opponent Michael Chiesa also agrees with.

The 9-0 Chiesa recently spoke about the switch in an interview with the UFC’s website where he expressed excitement about proving himself against a fighter he grew up rooting for.

“(Madadi) is a good fighter – everybody in the UFC is good – but when I got the call to fight him, I didn’t feel super-threatened. I’m not trying to sound arrogant in any way; he just didn’t make the hair on the back of my neck stand up. I was just like, `This is a tough guy; let’s get in shape and get ready.’

“When he fell through and I got the call to fight Masvidal, I’m saying this through-and-through, the complete truth , not because I’m fighting him: I was a fan of Masvidal’s before I ever even trained. I watched my first UFC fight when I was 13 years old. I’ve been following it ever since, and I remember watching Jorge, watching the backyard fights, and watching him KO Yves Edwards, and I was a fan.

“He’s very composed, he’s very seasoned, and he’s well-traveled. He’s a great fighter. It’s going to be an honor to fight him. I have all the respect for him in the world, but this is my time to show that I’m (part of) the new generation of fighters coming up, and I have to stand by that.”