Volkanovski (23-1) has been the source of headlines over the last couple of weeks after a planned trilogy fight with Max Holloway (23-6) at UFC 272 was booked then fell through. That led to several fighters publicly campaigning for the chance to replace the Hawaiian, and eventually, fourth-ranked fighter Chan Sung Jung landed the coveted spot as the champion’s new opponent — on a new date — at UFC 273.
When Volkanovski vs “Korean Zombie” was made official, Chikadze (14-3) made it known he would have liked that opportunity, and called the booking an “easy way” for the division king to move forward in his career. The jab rubbed the champ the wrong way as he explained during a Monday appearance on The MMA Hour.
“The Great” felt the comments were unnecessary, but also disrespectful to the man he had in front of him on Saturday night. Now, in hindsight “Ninja” looks a bit silly for talking well above his status and then getting mauled by Calvin Kattar inside the UFC APEX over the weekend. Volkanovski says that UFC Vegas 46 showed Chikadze was clearly not ready for championship competition, and that next time he needs to clear all the contender hurdles before he can call for a scrap with the best in the division.
Alexander Volkanovski says Giga Chikadze was turned into a punching bag at UFC Vegas 46
“I think that was a big eye-opener for Giga. That, mate, [against] good guys, you can’t just rely on a kick. You know, the Giga kick. It just shows you, you nullify his Giga kick and he ends up being a punching bag,” Volkanovski said. “Again just, man, that’s why you’ve got to fight these contenders. Fight all the top guys, guys that are going to mix it up. See where you are before you start facing the champ. You could imagine when you talk about making adjustments, game planning, cardio, all these tools that I have, I would have made him look really, really bad. You could imagine.
“So before you want to take out these types of guys, let’s experiment with some of these good guys and see where you’re at. And he showed that he’s not really at that level.”
“The Great” explains why he is the last person that should be called out for taking easy fights
The “easy way” comment bothered the Australian because he believes during his run in the promotion, and as champion the last three years, he is the last person that should be questioned about the level of competition they face. Especially, after he was willing to risk his spot at the top against a pound-for-pound talent in Holloway for the third time, despite having two wins over “Blessed” on his hit list.
“Look at the people I’ve fought. Look at the guys I’ve fought. Mate, you’re an absolute idiot if you think that I have dodged fights,” he said. “Max Holloway has proved he’s the next-best guy. I’m giving him the trilogy after winning twice. Who does that? Only guys that know that they’ve got the skills to keep winning are going to do that. The guys that don’t give a f*ck. The guys that have balls and are going to do what they need to do. I’m an easy champ to understand. I ain’t running from nobody. Earn that No. 1 spot and you can get it.”
Volkanovski vs Jung will serve as the main event of the UFC’s April pay-per-view offering in UFC 273. The 33-year-old has won 20 straight fights, with half of those coming inside the Octagon.
Was Chikadze temporarily insane to say that facing Jung was the easy way out for Volkanovski?