“With fighting, the biggest thing is always being able to make it to the fight.”
That’s what Macy Chiasson said in our fight week interview in July, and at the time it felt pointed at her long journey between fights against Shanna Young and Marion Reneau. Injuries and COVID-19 complications kept Chiasson out of action for 13 months, a gap far too long for someone of Chiasson’s workhorse nature. However, the quote turned out to also refer to her matchup with Aspen Ladd, scheduled for July 24.
Earlier in camp, Chiasson threw a kick that her sparring partner blocked just the right way to injure Chiasson’s foot. She said the injury, which turned out to be a stress fracture, was “10 out of 10” pain and severely limited her mobility during camp. She gutted it out, and during fight week, she was feeling OK about it. However, another awkward kick the night before official weigh-ins brought the worst of the pain back. She was forced to pull out of the fight, and the matchup was rebooked for October 2.
“I just had to keep telling myself, ‘It’s OK. Let’s just get this fight,’ because I want this fight really bad,” Chiasson told UFC.com. “I think this is a great matchup. I think we have great competitiveness going back and forth, and I’m just so ready now. I couldn’t even tell you any avenues I’m not ready for. It’s just a really s**tty situation for me, and of course, a s**tty situation for her, and I reached out and apologized to her camp. Whatever I had to do.”
When we talk on Wednesday of this fight week, Chiasson is as chipper as can be, saying she feels “amazing” compared to our last interview.
“If I could give you 150 percent, I would say that,” she said. “I feel more than ready. I’m excited, but I’m just very chill this week just because I feel so on with everything. I’m fortunate that I was able to get this matchup again.”
It’s the biggest spotlight of Chiasson’s career after winning season 28 of The Ultimate Fighter in 2018, and a win over Ladd catapults her up the rankings perhaps ahead of schedule.
With just nine professional fights under her belt, the extra time between fights has been beneficial, especially because she was preparing for fights that were delayed. Training at Fortis MMA, Chiasson regularly steps into the Octagon with another wrinkle added to her game.
“Even if I don’t fight, I always think a camp is a win,” she said. “If you do a full camp, you’re learning something. You’re improving on something. You’re better somehow, some way, so I’m excited to get in there, do the thing, get out, keep going.”
Stylistically, the matchup is many layers of interesting. Ladd has displayed great physical strength and control when grappling and is particularly fond of dishing out heavy ground-and-pound strikes. Chiasson has also shown proficiency on the ground, but her style is a bit more movement-based than Ladd’s. At 5-foot-9 with a 72-inch reach, Chiasson is a rangy and athletic fighter who has shown comfort in all areas, so this fight is a strong barometer for both of their abilities.
When it comes to how Chiasson plans to beat Ladd, she keeps the plan closer to the vest, but she does say it’s about being “a step ahead” of her opponent.
“If she gets a takedown, I’m getting back up or I’m getting a reversal,” Chiasson said. “If we’re in a standing situation, I’m never staying in one spot. It’s always being ahead of the game and just always expecting what’s coming next. She’s a great grappler, so we’ve been doing a lot of wrestling and grappling, and I think, honestly, mixing it up in all avenues is the biggest point.”
With great relief washing over her face, Chiasson said it’s going to feel “so great” walking to the Octagon on October 2. When a chance like this presents itself, any fighter would want to take full advantage, and after having it almost slip away in the summer, Chiasson cannot wait to show everyone she belongs among the elite at 135 pounds.
As far as the implications go, Chiasson thinks the fight puts her in a pretty good position to fight another Top 5 opponent. She said a title shot might be “a little bit ahead” of herself for the time being, but she knows beating Ladd puts her into a different conversation going forward.
“I think Top 5, absolutely, and then we’ll see what’s up from there,” Chiasson said. “I’ve got a little something in mind, but I’m saving it.”