When Max Holloway withdrew from his scheduled trilogy clash with the reigning 145-pound king at UFC 272, Chikadze was one of the first to throw his name into the hat as the replacement. That’s despite the fact he has top-five contender Calvin Kattar lined up for what is his biggest UFC fight to date this weekend.
After dispatching Edson Barboza with ease last August, “Ninja” has his chance to rise closer to contention in the UFC Vegas 46 headliner on Saturday night. But Chikadze, along with many in the MMA community, believes a victory should bring more than a rank rise. They think it should take the Georgian all the way to Volkanovski.
Chikadze Isn’t Impressed By Volkanovski
Like the other fighters willing to challenge the Australian, including Yair Rodríguez and former two-division UFC champion Henry Cejudo, Chikadze has seemingly been snubbed in favor of #4-ranked featherweight “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung. That’s despite the fact Chikadze boasts a seven-fight UFC win streak and has the chance to add the established name of Kattar to his record on January 15.
After the champ made his desire to face fan-favorite brawler Korean Zombie known, the UFC has seemingly moved his next defense back to UFC 273 and added Jung to the contest, per Ariel Helwani.
During a recent interview with MMA Fighting’s Damon Martin, Chikadze reacted to Zombie becoming the frontrunner for the replacement opportunity. According to the in-form Georgian, Volkanovski is avoiding him because he knows “Ninja” is the biggest threat to his reign.
In contrast, Chikadze sees Volkanovski as the easiest opponent for him inside the featherweight top 10.
“100% (Zombie fight) is easier. It’s (an) easier task for them, for Volkanovski,” said Chikadze. “I’ve been fighting these type of guys all my life and making my life with that. He knows that I’m, for him, the hardest and strongest fight. That’s why he’s trying to avoid me. I understand he wants to stay safe and make money and this, but I’m here to become the champion.
“Honestly, for me, I think that’s the easiest fight in the top 10, bro. This guy cannot even reach me. When we stand together, what’s he gonna do? Some guys have a good submission (game), some guys have a good punch or a good technique, what does he have against me? Nothing.”
Unfortunately for Chikadze and his fans, it appears the UFC has moved forward with plans for Volkanovski vs. Korean Zombie. Nevertheless, if the Tbilisi native puts in an impressive performance this weekend and perhaps becomes the first man to finish Kattar in the UFC, he’ll be a hard man to deny when it comes to the next shot at gold.
Do you think Giga Chikadze deserves a title shot over The Korean Zombie?