The world saw lightweight title-contender Michael Chiesa survive a scare in round one of his UFC against Beneil Dariush, Saturday in Tampa, when he got stunned by punches. But the world had no idea the extent to which “The Maverick” was in trouble. Post-fight, after he managed to survive the first round and then submit Dariush in the second round, Chiesa revealed that he’d nearly crapped his Reebok shorts inside the Octagon.
“I had a little hiccup right before the fight started that kind of threw a curveball my way. I think I could have performed better in the first round, but I persevered and I was able to get the job done,” he told Ariel Helwani afterward.
“We’re talking, like, stage-four emergency, about to blow a gasket. I tried to run off. They were like, ‘no, get back here!’ They were holding me back. Before the fight, I told Rogan, ‘dude, something bad might happen.’ Number two. Like, number four.”
So, Chiesa had other concerns besides defending himself shortly after his fight started — namely, not soiling himself on national television. He says that’s why Dariush was able to hit him so much in the opening stanza.
“The fight starts and, in my head, I’m trying to, I don’t know, keep my guts together and then all of the sudden I’m getting socked up,” he recounted.
“No excuses. Beneil is a tough dude, but my whole gameplan was to walk him down, forward pressure … and I couldn’t walk him down. I was just stuck there. I was about to pull a Yoel Romero, on a whole other level. Dude, dead-serious … You’ve got to overcome adversity.”
And he did. Cheese says that after sitting on his corner stool in between the first and second round, he felt much better and was able to then go out and execute his game plan. Now, looking back, the surging 155 lber believes the win stands out as the best of his career.
“Yeah, I think it was definitely my best,” he said.
“It’s definitely my biggest, most high-profile win. I’m on cloud nine right now.”