Michael Chiesa intends to fight for the UFC’s lightweight title, but if and when “Maverick” gets there, he doesn’t expect to be fighting Conor McGregor.

Chiesa is booked to fight Anthony Pettis at UFC 223, which will go down on April 7th in Brooklyn, New York. The bout will mark the first time Chiesa has fought, since he was defeated by Kevin Lee last June. The fight was scored as a technical submission win for Lee, but Chiesa has insisted he was not out. Prior to the loss, Chiesa was steadily climbing the 155 ranks, thanks to a three fight winning streak.

Well, in advance of UFC 223, Chiesa spoke with Submission Radio. While discussing his title shot aspirations, and the current championship picture at 155, Chiesa said this (quotes via MMA Mania):

“You gotta expect that [McGregor]’s going to fight the winner of [Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson]. You know what I mean? So, the way I look at it is, by the time I get to fight for the title, I think McGregor will kind of be out of the equation. I still gotta get through Anthony Pettis, I still probably got two more fights before I’m number one contender, and I think in that time span he would have moved on.

“I think he’ll come back, fight Khabib or Ferguson, probably Nate and then he’ll be on with himself, and I think by then it would be perfect timing for me to jump in and be champion. So, I’m not all too worried about that, I’m just focused on myself, I’m focused on the task at hand. I can’t stress too much about the future and what’s going on with Conor.”

Chiesa is likely not the only person who feels this way. McGregor isn’t expected to fight again until after summer. Even if he beats the winner of Ferguson – Nurmagomedov, will the superstar continue to defend the belt at 155? Fight Nate Diaz for a third time? Or look for fights at say welterweight? Hard to say.

But, when you consider Chiesa is currently ranked #9 at 155, he’s probably two or three, big wins away from fighting for the title. Injuries aside, in today’s MMA world it takes around a year, at least, to put three win’s together. As history tells us, lots can happen in a year.