Michael Chiesa knew about Sean Brady long before fighting him, and not just because he was a fellow UFC welterweight. As a UFC commentator, he’d gotten the skinny on Brady’s talent from his colleague, retired lightweight Paul Felder.
In the middle of their UFC Vegas 43 co-headliner, Brady said Chiesa acknowledged that Felder was right.
“He was like, ‘Man, you’re f*cking strong – you’re really strong,’” Brady said of Chiesa at the post-fight press conference after handing The Ultimate Fighter 15 winner his second straight loss. “‘Paul wasn’t lying.’ I said, ‘Thanks bro.’ I’m trying to win this fight here.’”
Paul could be forgiven for stretching the truth a little bit given his relationship as a longtime training partner of Brady. But the proof was already in the Philly welterweight’s resume, an unbeaten run that included four straight UFC wins. By the time he got to No. 4, the bigger problem was living down his octagon resume.
“I was even surprised when I got him,” Brady said. “Guys, I was [ranked No. 14], I was trying to fight anyone, literally, in the top-15. Anyone that was next to me, and I was having a hard time getting something, and then they offered me him. I was just grateful for it.”
Chiesa showed no signs of intimidation on fight week. Instead, Brady said it was all friendly between the UFC welterweights. They even traded UFC jerseys when Brady said he didn’t have a black one.
But the biggest win was the one for Brady’s career.
“Now, the other guys really aren’t going to be able to say no,” he said.
Brady declined to call out any of the other guys during his post-fight win speech, saying he wasn’t that guy. But he offered one idea backstage: the winner of a Dec. 18 fight between Belal Muhammad and two-time title challenger Stephen Thompson.
“I don’t know what they’re ranked, but I know they’re in the top-10,” Brady said. “I know the rankings come out on Tuesday. I’m sure I’m going to land somewhere in the top-10.”
Perhaps his new placement would help other UFC colleagues to recognize him, like former UFC champ Daniel Cormier, who appeared to forget his name during the post-fight interview. Cormier tried to make amends as he spoke to reporters.
“You forgot my name, dog,” Brady said with a smile. “That hurts.”
“I didn’t,” Cormier replied.
“Yo, you better follow me back on Instagram, tonight,” Brady persisted.
“I said your name five times in the interview,” Cormier said.
“And then you forgot it,” Brady said. “I love you, D.C.”