Salt Lake City, UT — It appeared Kevin Holland even surprised himself by submitting Michael Chiesa at UFC 291.
Holland (25-9, 1NC) was the welcoming party for Chiesa, returning to action for the first time since November of 2021, at the Delta Center in Salt Lake City on Saturday. In the end, Holland caught the former lightweight in a d’arce choke, an unexpected outcome if you discount the fact that he did the exact same thing to Tim Means a year ago.
There were a lot of questions about how Chiesa looked in his return, and while Holland revealed that “Maverick” told him after the fight that he won’t be retiring, “The Trailblazer” believes he might want to consider it.
“The game has circled and passed him and seriously left him. I see him talking about— it’s like guys, you have to be realistic. People always talk about ‘I want to get a title, I want to be a title,'” Holland explained following the win, speaking to media outlets including Cageside Press. “Let’s be real, some of you guys are in the UFC and you’re never going to get a f*cking title. Buy some jewellery like me.”
As for Chiesa, who has worked the broadcast booth in recent years, “Retire, commentate, focus on your family, you’re never going to get a title, if that’s what you’re here for, it’s not going to happen. You’re already collecting the check by not getting hurt. So just stop. You’re a really good commentator, and there’s no reason to take brain damage. The next guy might be a little bit more dangerous than me, and he night not go for the submission, he might just keep pounding your head in. So it’s like, just stop while you can.”
Kevin Holland is nothing if not blunt, which has earned him plenty of fans. That same tendency to speak his mind has also drawn a target on his back countless times. Case in point, Jake Matthews stated after his own UFC 291 win that Holland had challenged him to a fight.
Holland corrected that statement on Saturday. “I told him we could fight in two weeks. But that’s not the thing. I didn’t challenge him to a fight. He brought my name up, and once I seen him in person, I just let him know, quit f*cking bringing my name up online.”
With Holland teasing a move back to 185 pounds, that may or may not happen — but there’s no question Holland will have a long line of suitors where ever he competes.
Watch the full UFC 291 post-fight press conference with Kevin Holland above.