UFC Vegas 35’s Giga Chikadze Lays Out His Case for a Title Shot

UFC Fight Island 5 Giga Chikadze Omar Morales
ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - OCTOBER 11: (L-R) Giga Chikadze of Georgia kicks Omar Morales of Venezuela in their featherweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event inside Flash Forum on UFC Fight Island on October 11, 2020 in Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Currently sitting at #10 in the UFC’s latest featherweight rankings, UFC Vegas 35 headliner Giga Chikadze sees himself a lot closer to the top of the heap than that number would suggest. Just under two years into his UFC run, the Georgian has put together six straight wins inside the octagon and with a well-earned main event this Saturday against Edson Barboza. While he recognizes that Barboza is his stiffest competition thus far, he thinks a win this weekend ought to put him in line for a title shot.

“I think what I’ve done in the UFC shows how hard I want a title shot,” Chikadze said referring to his willingness to fight anyone and everyone. “I don’t think anybody deserves one more than me or anyone wants it more than me.”

When pressed about his place in the rankings and his proximity to the top, his confidence booms. He isn’t too shy to point out just why he deserves a crack more than each of the people who sit in front of him in the rankings. And that starts with the very top of those rankings with former champion Max Holloway.

“Max and [Volkanovski] have fought already, twice,” he said. “I don’t think they want to see a new version every single year.”

After noting that Ortega is already getting a shot and deservedly so, he did note that he would be ready to fill in on late notice – with the caveat being that he is not medically suspended from this fight. From there, he went the rest of the way down the top 10, taking no prisoners.

“What about Yair [Rodriguez]? Right?” he repeated as a refrain from fans. “Yair never fought over two years when I fought six times… so I don’t think this guy deserves a title shot right now… Zombie had a last good fight, but before that he had a couple of losing fights, so maybe he needs one more.”

He continued down the list noting others who are coming off of losses and/or big layoffs.

“Kattar lost his last fight, Arnold Allen only fights like once in a year – it’s like a miracle [for him to fight],” Chikadze noted. “Josh Emmett – he’s injured. I don’t see who is before me for a title shot. I don’t know. I really don’t think anybody deserves it more than me.”

With that argument carefully laid out, Chikadze realizes that this whole argument hinges on this weekend. A win over Edson Barboza and in impressive fashion would certainly propel him towards the top. While he respects his Brazilian counterpart, he’s pretty sure of his abilities – and even has a bold prediction about the fight.

“I believe that Edson is a really good, experienced striker and I think he will try to test the striking,” he said. “The saying is that there are levels in the striking, and the guy is really good, but there is a level above as well. He’s going to feel it, then he’s going to start shooting and try to wrestle me. 100%.”

You can catch Chikadze looking to make his next step forward as the main event of UFC Vegas 35 this Saturday on ESPN and EPSN+.

You can hear the entire audio of this interview at 2:39.

For more from UFC Vegas 35 headliner Giga Chikadze, check out his media day appearance below.