Giga Chikadze did not fight Mike Davis as planned on Saturday at UFC on ESPN 8. Instead, he faced off with short-notice replacement Irwin Rivera, after Davis pulled out of their bout.
For the third time.
Post-fight, Chikadze expressed his frustration to Cageside Press, speaking in a virtual media scrum.
“[Mike Davis] pulled out from my fight already twice before this fight. So this is the third time. It wasn’t a surprise for me,” said Chikadze (10-2), a decorated kickboxer prior to making the jump to MMA. “And now they scheduled me with the third time the same guy and I was like, ‘Okay, if they that’s what they want. I’ll do it.’ I don’t mind but I always had in my mind that something might happen, he might pull out again.”
Getting a new opponent required a talk with his coaches and teammates. But really, Cikadze said, they decided that “nothing’s changed. We’re in a shape. Just a different opponent. Oh, the new guy came and we just checked his bio a little bit. Different style but we were ready for it.”
During the fight, Rivera at one point tried jumping over Chikadze’s leg kicks. It’s something he’d seen before — “when somebody gets hurt in a leg and they don’t want to get kicked anymore. Some people try that. And as you guys know, I’m a kickboxer. And I’ve seen this move many times before.”
With his third straight win in the UFC, the question now becomes what is next for the talented striker. “Fight Island will be super nice, I feel, because all the people are waiting for this,” he suggested. “Everyone is talking about this Fight Island, some Mortal Kombat thing. Well, I would love to do it for sure.” That, or a bout in Las Vegas (assuming it opens up), he suggested. As for an opponent, either a big name, or a fun fight for the fans is what Chikadze is looking for.
Watch the full UFC on ESPN 8 post-fight virtual media scrum with Giga Chikadze above!