Why Colby Covington? Michael Chiesa explains post-UFC on ESPN+ 24 callout

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RALEIGH, N.C. – Michael Chiesa took to the microphone moments after his UFC on ESPN+ 24 win over Rafael dos Anjos, and he was short.

“The Ultimate Fighter” Season 15 winner elected not to utilize the spotlight to gloat in the biggest victory of his career, no. Instead, Chiesa (16-4 MMA, 10-4 UFC) turned his attention to his next fight and called out former interim welterweight champion Colby Covington.

While Chiesa didn’t physically drop the mic, he did in spirit. As soon as he made the callout, he walked out of the cage. Why is Chiesa interested in a matchup with Covington (15-2 MMA, 10-2 UFC)?

“I just beat the No. 5 ranked guy in the world,” Chiesa said. “I always say the most important time to ask for a fight is after you win. You’ve got to capitalize. I’m not out to engage in some verbal pissing match with the guy. I respect his skills. He’s super tough. I’m just trying to get to a world title. I think that’s the fight that makes the most sense when you look at the top five.

“I said before the fight if I beat Rafael dos Anjos, I’m not fighting anyone who’s less than five. I’m taking his spot. Looking at the landscape of the division, that’s the fight that makes sense. I want to be tested. I want to fight the best, so Colby it is.”

Covington most recently competed at UFC 245 in December. Taking on  UFC champion and bitter rival Kamaru Usman, Covington engaged in a back-and-forth war but suffered fifth-round TKO loss and a broken jaw in the process.

Chiesa started formulating his callout plans in mid-December. After seeing how UFC 245 went and what other welterweight matchups were being booked, Chiesa zoned in on Covington.

“I waited to see how (UFC) 245 ended,” Chiesa said. “I wanted to see what happened with Tyron (Woodley) and Leon (Edwards) and everybody. I think it’s a fight that makes sense. I wouldn’t go ask for some outlandish matchup.

“Anytime I’ve won a fight and asked for an opponent, I’ve usually gotten it. That’s because it’s all well thought out. I just don’t throw things against the wall that aren’t going to stick. I just think it’s a fight that makes sense. I think it’s a fight I could get, so we’ll see what happens.”