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Michael Chiesa releases statement following UFC 265 loss: ‘I cracked’

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Michael Chiesa feels he let pressure get the best of him in one of the biggest fights of his career.

In a battle of welterweight contenders, “Maverick” suffered a tough loss when he was submitted by Vicente Luque in the first round of their main card bout Saturday at UFC 265 in Houston. Chiesa scored the first takedown of the fight and threatened with a rear-naked choke, but Luque reversed positions and moments later locked in a D’Arce choke that forced Chiesa to tap out.

Chiesa, No. 7 in MMA Fighting’s Global Rankings prior to UFC 265, saw a four-fight win streak snapped and lost for the first time since moving up to the 170-pound division. Shortly after his loss, Chiesa released a statement on social media in which he admits that he “cracked” from the pressure:

“To say I’m embarrassed is an understatement,” Chiesa wrote. Physically I was in the best shape of my life, mentally I was battling myself every single day. I put too much pressure on myself this fight and I cracked.

“Historically throughout my career, every time I have faced adversity and came up short, I’ve turned around and grown tremendously. A couple more wins and I’ll be back in the mix.”

Chiesa went on to write that “the goal remains the same.” The 33-year-old has been a standout in the UFC since winning The Ultimate Fighter 15 in 2012. He became a top-10 fighter at 155 pounds before difficulties with the weight cut prompted a change in divisions.

At welterweight, Chiesa holds wins over former lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos, former interim welterweight champion Carlos Condit, as well as veterans Neil Magny and Diego Sanchez.

See Chiesa’s full statement below:

I want to jump out in front of this now. First and most importantly, congrats to [Luque], he’s a stone cold killer and a class act. I look forward to seeing what’s next for him. It was an honor sharing the octagon with him.

To say I’m embarrassed is an understatement. Physically I was in the best shape of my life, mentally I was battling myself every single day. I put too much pressure on myself this fight and I cracked. Historically throughout my career, every time I have faced adversity and came up short, I’ve turned around and grown tremendously. A couple more wins and I’ll be back in the mix.

The goal remains the same, my belief is still just as strong and I love every single person that supports me so much that it hurts.