Michael Chiesa is healthier and happier than ever before now that he’s competing at welterweight and no longer killing himself to get down to the lightweight limit.
That said, Chiesa understands the culture of weight cutting that exists in mixed martial arts and that fixing the problem is a far more complex issue than any current remedy being theorized.
One potential solution that’s been suggested is the creation of more weight classes so fighters aren’t forced to cut as much weight to stay competitive. The 15-pound gap between lightweight and welterweight is a massive jump and the same could be said for the middleweight division at 185 pounds and the light heavyweight division at 205 pounds.
Add to that thanks to an aggressive UFC schedule, there haven’t always been title fights available to help headline a pay-per-view card, which has led to some sticky situations with interim belts being introduced not to mention certain champions almost being strong armed into accepting fights.
Chiesa believes at least part of both problems could be partially solved by introducing a 165-pound division, which would sit between the two weight classes with the most fighters on the entire UFC roster.
“UFC is in dire straits to have these weight classes,” Chiesa explained when speaking to MMAWeekly. “We need more champions and I feel like this needs to be done for the fighters. We do need this. We can’t have these big weight jumps. I’m not saying this as a solution for weight cutting, I’m saying this for sport. We’re never going to solve weight cutting, we need to just get past that. People are always going to cut weight. The UFC likes super fights.
“Think about this — Conor McGregor is the golden goose of the UFC and you start the 165-pound division and give him the inaugural shot at the 165-pound title, he’d have a chance to be a three division champion. Holy promotion. Just do Conor McGregor-Nate Diaz 3 for the 165-pound title. You want to talk about a big fight? That’s a big fight. Let’s add some weight classes. Let’s see more champion versus champion. Let’s get some more two division champions.”
Many of the fighters who have talked about creating a 165-pound division are the same ones who would probably benefit from that weight class joining the UFC roster.
Chiesa could potentially be one of those fighters after starting his career as a lightweight and now enjoying his life much better as a welterweight.
That said, Chiesa isn’t advocating for a 165-pound division simply because it could potentially benefit him.
Instead, Chiesa says he might not even jump at the chance to compete at 165-pounds but still believes the new weight class would be a huge addition to the UFC.
“I would love to see it,” Chiesa said. “This little debacle that we had with Brooklyn, an extra champion would be huge right now. In the pinch that the UFC is in right now, if we had an extra champion that would help us a lot.
“I’ve talked to my coaches, and I don’t even know if I would go to 165. I might go to 175. I don’t know, I can’t say that yet.”