"I don't feel like it was my best performance," said Chivitchian, who fell to 5-1 with his loss to Watson (13-6-1). "I was focused a lot on doing damage in the striking. I wanted to knock him out so much. I kinda put aside my takedowns and wrestling, which was a mistake on my part.
"This was my biggest fight. You have a lot of pressure on you, this is your foot in the door and at the same time you want to put in an exciting performance.
"In the back of my mind, I was just thinking about knocking him out. I was just chasing the striking."
Watson claimed 30-27 scores on two judges' cards and won 29-28 on a third. The News-Press had it 29-28 for Chivitchian, however, giving him the first two rounds, which were decidedly close, but in which the Glendale fighter appeared to have done more damage with his striking.
"I definitely thought it was close. I felt that I did cause more damage, I thought I had the bigger strikes," Chivitchian said. "Anytime you go the judges' hands, you can blow it. This time I came up short."
Chivitchian's striking, while vastly improved, had always taken a backseat to his ground game, which often featured his judo skills, coupled with ground and pound and solid submission skills. But on Saturday, the game plan was to stay standing to refute Watson's jiu jitsu skills. Chivitchian believes he should have done more to mix in his takedowns and ground game. And, as his cornerman Dave Camarillo said on Saturday, did a better job on getting off first with his striking, particularly in a third round that was clearly won by Watson.