Thanks to that time away from the cage, Chiesa was able to get healthy and refine some things as he aims to make his run to the top of the stacked welterweight division.
It was admittedly tough for Chiesa to sit back while the division continued to develop without him, but now that he’s ready to rock, he believes that an impressive performance over someone as tough as Magny could launch him to where he wants to be.
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“Neil and I have kind of been clamoring at each other for a while to fight. He’s ranked one spot below me and I think the rankings are still relevant, but I think they are kind of taking a back burner. I think if you go out and have an impressive fight, that can really catapult you up the rankings,” Chiesa said. “I’m not as focused on fighting the guys ahead of me, especially when they booked this fight, like everybody was booked. The landscape of the division was like this, and this is the guy that makes the most sense and I’m glad we get to do it.”
A win would give Chiesa the momentum he needs to ascend the ranks at 170 pounds, something that he’s been patient about so far. But after missing the entire 2020 campaign, Chiesa knows that a victory over Magny would put him in perfect position to have the type of 2021 he needs to push for a shot at the title.
When a fighter is away from competition for a lengthy period of time, the question of “ring rust” always seems to pop up. Chiesa is well aware of the concept and actually had a year plus gap between performances back in 2016-2017.